Bigotry by GOP fueled desire to switch, Crist says | May 7
'Race card' trivializes a real issue
I don't know and don't particularly care why Charlie Crist left the Republican Party, and I definitely don't have a problem with him suggesting it was about bigotry. I do, however, have a problem with the entire concept of "playing the race card."
Race in this country is not a card game. It is a serious issue. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that there have been horrible things said about this president on the basis of his skin color. It's a real issue, and bringing attention to it is not "playing the race card." It's "telling it like it is."
The GOP has got to deal with its inner demons. Pretending those demons are some kind of ploy by the other side is not going to make them go away.
Rebecca Hendricks, Clearwater
House votes for new Benghazi investigation May 9
Unemployment is down to 6.3 percent. We now have access to health care. Our economy is slowly rising. The stock market is at an all-time high.
Do we continue to build on these issues, or do we go back to Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious and the repeal of the health care law? None of these will boost our economy or create jobs. None of these will improve our health or put food on the table.
Our lawmakers are responsible for the well-being of all Americans, not just a selected few. So what's important to me is the growth and prosperity of all Americans and the entire country.
Richard Gentile, Tampa
Urgent call to action on climate | May 8
Debt is the urgent issue
The real problem for future generations is our enormous debt — not climate change. With China building 2,200 coal-fired power plants between now and 2030, our meager attempts to affect climate change don't make sense.
It will cause poor people — who can least afford it — to pay more for energy. It's all pain and no gain.
Don Bongaards, Seminole
Republicans can't keep ignoring climate change | May 8, commentary
Party becoming obsolete
Across a spectrum of politically lit-fuse topics — climate change, the wealth gap, gay marriage, marijuana laws — research and the march of human advancement have rendered the entrenched values of the Republican Party obsolete.
It's frightful, and funny to watch, but only in a sad way if you care about this country and would like to see a vigorous and honest debate between the two leading parties on some kind of compromise based on informed thinking from both sides.
Jeffry Scott, St. Petersburg
Father stoic on the stand | May 7
Father is not on trial
Parker Schenecker is not on trial; his ex-wife is. As if participating as a witness in the trial of his ex-wife for the murder of their children isn't painful enough for the retired Army colonel, he has to read insinuations that somehow his obedience to duty makes him complicit in his wife's crime.
I'm sure there are plenty of military men and women that spend months away from their families, many of them relying on spouses with known demons they are trying to conquer. But anticipating that a woman is capable of murdering her own children is beyond imagination.
Furthermore, your slant on the story suggests that Col. Schenecker made a "decision" to deploy to Qatar. The men and women who serve in America's armed forces don't decide what their orders are going to be; they simply obey them. That's one of the things that makes them deserve our utmost respect and not the contempt of the press.
Norma Fraser, Clearwater
High court okays legislative prayer | May 6
Breaching the wall
One looks at the headline hardly able to believe it is real. "Legislative prayer"? Our highest court, the one that supposedly gives us the final interpretation of our Constitution, "okays legislative prayer"?
The descriptive passage explains: "All nine justices endorsed the concept of legislative prayer, with the four dissenters agreeing that the public forum 'need not become a 'religion-free zone,' ' in the words of Justice Elena Kagan."
Doesn't the First Amendment to the Constitution infer that all government should be a religion-free zone? Could this latest reference to religion be a very small step toward the violation of a fundamental concept of our government?
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
For safety, buy transmitter
Last Tuesday morning, some friends and I departed our dock in Ruskin for a day of offshore fishing. On the way, about 7 a.m., we spotted people in the water hanging on to a range marker in Tampa Bay.
I notified the Coast Guard and we rescued a family of four who had been in the water since about 5:30 p.m. the day before when their boat sank. Other than being cold and scared they seemed okay. They were very lucky to have survived.
Their ordeal could probably have been shortened considerably if they had an EPIRB, a small transmitter that sends an SOS and gives its location to rescuers. Boating is a lot of fun, but it can turn tragic quickly. An EPIRB can save your life.
Sam Closkey, Ruskin
Kingly quest | May 8
In a time when we hear of bullying, suicide and poor self-esteem in our high schools, reading this article was a pure delight. I have a new appreciation for fundamental schools, specifically Osceola High. I always thought these schools to be rigid and unyielding.
I was impressed by principal Mike Bohnet's handling of the transgender issue. He first gave Sebastian Rollins the respect as an individual he deserved as well as showing concern for the community by researching the law.
Sebastian was spared a public humiliation and instead found respect and understanding. I applaud his words, "To them it doesn't matter as much about my gender. It's about how much people care about you. They care about me."
Caroline York Mortell,