Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Knowledge goes deeper than smartphone

Smartphones and the end of smarts | Nov. 13, commentary

Getting past blissful ignorance

Daniel Sarewitz ably discusses the modern obsession with instant information offered by smartphones. There is an inevitable caveat expressed by the happily cynical English poet Alexander Pope: "A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring."

This brings us to the sobering question: Who is providing the instant information so grandly appreciated by all users? Sarewitz mentions the luxury of reading a condensed War and Peace, but someone read it and wrote the condensed version.

In the future, all smartphone users will be intellectually at the mercy of a small cadre of those with vast, rich knowledge and who therefore have the power to prevail.

Do we dare to risk that? It's all very well to enjoy the bliss of ignorance, of superficial knowledge. What of those who "drink deep" of the Pierian spring?

Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon

Dear President Obama: You lied Nov. 14, commentary

Positive impact

President Barack Obama clarified his "if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance" statement during his news conference. The president said that his statement included the 95 percent who have insurance coverage issued by their employer. He considered that a percentage of the remainder would favor Affordable Care Act marketplace policies that would offer better insurance coverage. Leonard Pitts' blanket "lied" assertion is baseless and demeaning to Obama.

I am disgusted at all of the actual "lying" that currently passes for the truth. Since 2010 the ACA has made a positive impact on the population and slowed the annual increase in health policy costs, and yet we scream about the rollout. Be patient; the sun will shine again.

James Gregor, Brandon

Flawed thinking

Leonard Pitts' sadness on President Barack Obama's incorrect promise is instructive on two big ideas. First, Pitts insists the "rules" are different for this president. Second, Pitts is bothered that the injury of untruthfulness adds insult to the whiff of incompetency. Nowhere does Pitts question the shifting tectonic plates upon which the president's signature achievement — and mendacity — were constructed.

A president's exotic background is not a legitimate basis for enjoying different rules for competency and pragmatism. If the leader of the free world lacks certain skill sets, and screws up a lot, the "movement" is invited to try harder with a proven leader — and perhaps better ideas — next time.

As for pragmatic ideas, the Obamacare calamity offers an opportunity to re-examine our foundations of caring, fairness, liberty, authority and sanctity. I'm convinced America's center-right heart defines and balances these ideas better than progressive movement leaders. One party asking bureaucrats to take over one-sixth of the U.S. economy is wrongheaded. I join Pitts in profound sadness on flawed ideas — not flawed thinkers.

Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg

'GMA' reporter has cancer | Nov. 12

Healing and survival

ABC News correspondent Amy Robach's recent decision to undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction after learning the results of a televised mammogram is a courageous act that highlights an important shift in our national dialogue on breast cancer.

In addition to screening and prevention, we are now experiencing a much-needed discussion of healing and survival. The empowerment of women from diagnosis to recovery is at the very heart of this conversation.

As the medical specialty responsible for thousands of breast reconstructions each year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons emphasizes that breast cancer care includes, at minimum, a breast surgeon, oncologist, plastic surgeon, radiologist and gynecologist. A strong team approach presents women with all the options available, enabling them to take ownership of their treatment.

We are proud to have drafted and introduced the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act, bipartisan legislation that ensures all women know their breast reconstruction options at the time of breast cancer diagnosis. This year more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease. We have both a medical and moral obligation to make healing and survival a key part of our national dialogue.

We applaud Robach for lending her voice to the growing chorus of women championing a narrative of healing, survival and empowerment during the breast cancer journey.

Robert X. Murphy Jr., M.D., Bethlehem, Pa.

Kerry, Biden seek time to negotiate with Iran Nov. 14

Diplomacy yields progress

The success of U.S.-Iran negotiating efforts demonstrates that when our nations commit to serious diplomacy, historic progress is possible. The United States and Iran are in reach of a deal to guard against a nuclear-armed Iran and a devastating war. Congress should not sabotage this diplomatic victory with new sanctions and saber-rattling measures that would jeopardize the progress our diplomats have worked so hard to achieve.

I hope Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio vote against new sanctions and publicly support efforts toward a diplomatic resolution of the decadelong standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

Melissa Buhler, St. Petersburg

Braves eyeing new ballpark | Nov. 12

Gifts for the wealthiest

Our "peculiar institution" of governmental largess to professional sports teams seems to be the elephant in the room that almost all news publications ignore. I observed no squeals of indignation from you or other news sources when reporting on the Atlanta Braves' impending move from downtown Atlanta because they want a new stadium largely paid for by government.

The city has refused to provide an unneeded new stadium, so the team is taking its marbles to a new stadium to be paid for by Cobb County politicians. They have of course trotted out the idea that the people (government) will end up profiting in the long run. This proposition is demonstrably untrue. The only people to benefit are some of the already richest plutocratic members of our society, the team's owners. Make no mistake: This is not Green Bay where the citizens own the team.

Where are those staunch defenders of conservative values, the tea partiers, the Republican Party? Nowhere on this issue. They are busy holding down teachers' salaries. There's not enough money for new schools or new infrastructure, but enough for gifts to the wealthiest.

Michael McDaniel, St. Petersburg


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18