Taking aim at Perry | Sept. 13
Immunizations are safe, effective
Immunizations are now a cornerstone of preventive medical care and are the least costly modality in individual and public health preventive measures. Long heralded as the only acceptable way to control the deadly ills of the past — including polio, diphtheria, tetanus, streptococcal and pneumonia infections — these treatments are a blessing.
Unfortunately, some in the tea party are now on the attack against immunizing infants and children. This evil, politically motivated position is supposedly based on interfering with the freedom and liberty of children and their ill-informed parents. Well, it's just the opposite. These immunizations keep us free of disease and give the liberty of a healthy life. They are safe and effective and the latest one available can even prevent cervical cancer in unwed and married women.
It just takes one misinformed tea party candidate, who apparently has no formal training in health, to sidetrack the issues of modern health care and make medical science into a political sideshow. Every thoughtful American should be happy that immunizations have support from the sensible.
Stuart Berney, Ph.D., Tampa
Doctor gag law indefensible | Sept. 16, editorial
It's a matter of safety
I am a pediatrician. I am a father. I am a gun owner. I oppose the recent law that Gov. Rick Scott signed that limits the conversation doctors can have with patients and parents about gun ownership and safety.
When giving guidance, I have never asked a family to get rid of their guns. I personally don't know any doctors who have done that or would do that. That's not our role. The physician's role is to empower patients to make informed decisions that will ultimately lead to better health.
What I do know is that many lawful gun owners with children in the home do not properly store or lock their guns. Most new parents have scarcely imagined that their toddler could someday access these guns and accidentally discharge them, to a tragic end.
Thankfully, none of my patients has ever died because of an accidental firearms discharge. But working at a busy children's hospital has afforded me the unfortunate opportunity of encountering these tragic cases.
More than 1.3 million children in the United States live in a household with unsecured, loaded weapons. About 170 Florida children die each year from gunshot wounds. Even with physicians counseling patients freely, children aged 0-14 are over 11 times more likely to die from firearms in the United States than in other developed countries. So it is important to have more counseling, not less.
I am pleased that U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke has placed an injunction on this law and that state Rep. Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, has had the strength to introduce a repeal bill (HB 1405). We must continue to fight to remove this dangerous law from the books.
Juan A. Dumois III, M.D., All Children's Hospital, St. Petersburg
President Barack Obama's jobs bill would provide a quick, much-needed influx of help to the American work force. However, it is not a long-term solution to the biggest problem: outsourcing. Both parties are ignoring this issue, and without addressing and correcting it, there will be fewer and fewer jobs each year.
One reason companies outsource is for cheap labor. These companies take jobs away from Americans, whom they depend on to buy their products and services. Any company that does this should be heavily fined or taxed.
The second reason for outsourcing is the corporate tax rate. There are billions of untaxed profits sitting offshore in subsidiaries in other countries. Maybe it is time to lower the corporate tax rate and keep the jobs and taxes on income here.
Cheryl Colvin, Odessa
Try apprentice programs | Sept. 15, letter
Programs suffered cuts
The letter writer who suggested that teachers, administrators and professors dislike "dirty work" should know that Pinellas County did have vocational programs designed for students interested in pursuing areas not intended for college degrees. The students were taught carpentry, small engine repair, cosmetology, nursing skills as well as cooking and other vocations.
In 1987, the Florida Legislature decided the revenue from the newly instituted lottery would supplement our education funds. Thus began a shell game of our tax dollars, and the education budget began to be dismantled. Valuable vocational programs were one of the areas that were carved away.
All of these decisions were made without input from teachers, administrators and college professors regarding what's best for our students.
Charlotte Morales, Tampa
An appealing candidate
The Times should give us more information on Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza who is running for president on the Republican ticket.
In the debate in Tampa, he made more sense than all the other candidates put together. But because he isn't a flashy candidate, or one who spurs controversy, not much is said about him. He reminds me of Harry Truman in his approach to problem solving. Let's hear more about him.
Joyce Lindsey, Tarpon Springs
Solo USF Poly is possible | Sept. 16
It is amazing to read of the need for a new independent university in Lakeland. In these times of financial woes, it is nearly impossible for local governments to arrive at balanced budgets or find enough funding to keep K-12 education moving forward.
I would guess that the new university will need a president paid at several hundreds of thousands annually, and who would be more qualified than a term-limited politician such as J.D. Alexander, or perhaps Ray Sansom.
Thomas J. Farner, St. Petersburg
Tea party's strange brew | Sept. 16, Daniel Ruth column
How to make them go away
Liberals, and of course Daniel Ruth, have been working hard to trivialize and — since that didn't work — demonize the so-called tea party. If progressives really do want the tea party to go away, then Democrats in Congress simply need to help Republicans pass a balanced-budget amendment.
Tom West, Trinity