Sunday, April 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Religion drives Russia sex policy

Russia's antigay law hazy | Aug. 13

Religion drives Russia sex policy

Russia's new ban on providing information on nontraditional sexual relations to minors has ignited a firestorm of controversy here and abroad. It is not altogether clear if the law is meant to ban simply providing information to minors about nontraditional sex, or to ban actively promoting such behavior to minors, or both. It is also unclear exactly what is meant by "nontraditional." Does it refer to the sexual practices of lesbians and gay males only, or does it include practices of heterosexuals as well?

In some respects the attempt to enforce such a law, as well as the law banning blasphemy, is like trying to herd all the imps and demons back into Pandora's box, given the explosion of information on the Web and the relatively easy access to it even for Russian teenagers.

President Vladimir Putin and many of his fellow social conservatives are worried about the threat of a declining Russian population (shades of Pat Buchanan). Hence, any type of sexual activity, including the promotional dissemination of information not related to procreation, poses a danger to the national welfare and ought to be banned in their opinion.

One would be remiss if one did not also point out the role of religion in all this. Putin and many other Russians get their morals from the Russian Orthodox Church, which holds a unique position of power in Russia.

In some ways the status of the Russian Orthodox Church recalls the situation in colonial Virginia, where the Anglican Church was the official religion of the colony. More than a few Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers and others were thrown in jail for having run afoul of the colony's strict regulations of religious activities.

This was the point at which an angry young James Madison entered the fray, thundering against "that diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution" and railing against the "quota of imps" supplied by the clergy "for such business." Fortunately for us, Madison and some of his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 managed to sever heaven from earth in a national government for the first time in world history.

Tommy Moore, Riverview

Wrong on immigration | Aug. 18, Perspective

Legitimize foreign workers

Ezra Klein's article is an important revelation. There seems to be little justification for the current emphasis on upgrading the border with Mexico. One of the reasons is that the unemployment rate in Mexico is less than the U.S. rate.

We have a long history, according to the article, of needing workers from Mexico for certain jobs in this country. Let's continue to use those workers and legitimize their status, so they can assimilate in a compassionate and legal manner. I'm hoping Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who has already established an important legacy in his tenure in office, will support sensible immigration reform in the House and add to his legacy.

Carl P. Hansen, Clearwater

States struggle to find drugs for executions Aug. 19

Go back to the chair

After reading this article about the shortage of drugs for executions, I have an idea: Forget the drugs, bring back the electric chair, and make it mandatory. Lethal injection seems too easy.

The last time I checked, there was no shortage of electricity.

Barbara Troop, Tarpon Springs

Offshore drilling

Seismic airguns dangerous

A recent Washington Post article, "Noise from seismic air guns could be skirmish before war over offshore drilling," brings an important, and potentially disastrous, proposal to light.

The Interior Department is deciding whether to allow oil companies to use seismic airguns to locate oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean. Not only is this the first step to offshore drilling along the East Coast, but seismic airguns would be devastating for marine wildlife. The Interior Department itself estimates that 138,500 dolphins and whales could be injured or killed by seismic airguns — a process that emits a thunderous blast of air every 10 seconds, for days to weeks on end.

Fortunately, the department has recently decided to hold off on issuing its recommendation until the spring of 2014 in order to include newer scientific evidence. This is good news since there won't be Atlantic seismic testing this year.

We cannot risk an oil spill along the East Coast, and we cannot subject marine mammals to such intolerable noise. I urge the Obama administration to reject this dangerous proposal and stop East Coast drilling before it starts.

Debra Tate, Gibsonton

Legislator seeks an end to nuclear advance fee | Aug. 16

Zero-emission fuel source

This article fails to point out that a vote to kill the nuclear advance fee would be a vote against cleaner air. Nuclear energy is the only source of high-quantity, baseload electricity that emits zero greenhouse gases.

Antinuclear activists (and the Times) rally around the politics of such legislation, but any true environmentalist must support nuclear energy. The current pay-as-you-go financing law enables the development of this zero-emission energy source. Do not repeal it.

Jerry Paul, Venice

Clerk talks down gunman inside school Aug. 21

The power of love

Antoinette Tuff's three simple words, "I love you," along with her willingness to share her own challenges with a troubled young man, altered the trajectory of history in the making last week at a Georgia elementary school.

Love changed everything. Today children are playing, parents are rejoicing and our country recognizes an act of heroism. Let us long remember that a single act of courageous love by one individual transformed lives.

Marci Moore, Seminole

Comments

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18