PETA chides use of goats in training | Aug. 15
Stand up against abuse of animals
I implore my fellow Tampa Bay citizens to stand with PETA and protest our military's live tissue study, known as Goat Lab. The purpose of this cruel practice is to train combat medics on a live goat by inflicting stab wounds, broken bones, sucking chest wounds, etc. USF and our Florida National Guard are scheduled to start this barbaric animal abuse training very soon.
Here is my idea of training these troops: Why not have these medics intern at any local emergency room in the bay area and work on crash victims, shooting and stabbing victims, and all types of emergency room trauma victims?
It is beyond my belief and comprehension how we as a society still experiment on defenseless animals. As a humanist, I am sad to say that the human animal race is the cruelest of all the Earth's species. Our so-called higher intelligence will be the death of our species and our only home planet.
I ask people to study our past as humans and see how we keep repeating our failures throughout our history. I stand with PETA on many other animal abuse investigations, and I hope other Florida residents will stand with us against USF and the military's animal abuse.
Joseph Rowe, Tarpon Springs
Pinellas considers expanding transgender rights | Aug. 8
Rights for all
I was excited to read the Pinellas County Commission is considering adding transgender protections to the county's human rights ordinance. Part of the promise of America is the shared belief that we can all live our lives the way we want. "Don't tread on me" is not only an early American slogan about government, it defined Americans' belief that each of us can choose our path and our terms of happiness. All of us want and expect to have the full rights of America; transgender Americans are no different.
Some concerns about this action have been raised in the past. Communities that have expanded rights to transgender citizens have seen no ill effects on their local businesses, economy or culture.
This week Pinellas commissioners have the opportunity to ensure more citizens have full access to the promise of America. I hope the commission votes to extend the human rights ordinance and allow more people to live in a world where "don't tread on me" and individual terms of happiness are a way of life.
Neil Brickfield, Safety Harbor
GOP seeks a focus | Aug. 11
Oligarchy in the making
Republicans and Democrats are bitterly divided, but we do need two parties, and the division is not our biggest problem. Our major problem is the shadowy third party, the Big Money Boys, who have found it a business expedient to control the government for the purpose of expanding and protecting their profits.
Greedy and powerful, these boys have bought enough congressmen to make a huge difference. This could explain the otherwise inexplicable actions by Congress: (1) When 90 percent of Americans wanted background checks for gun purchase, Congress voted the bill down. (2) Why did Congress refuse to vote to send aid to disaster-struck states? (3) The House now is trying to pass a bill to cut funding for food stamps, leaving 200,000 children hungry; yet they stoutly refuse to allow any of the very wealthiest to pay a cent more in taxes.
Our country is well on the way to being an oligarchy — run by the rich for the rich, and too bad for anyone else. What can we do? We do not have to have a revolution like the French peasants had when they chopped off the heads of the offending rulers. We can peacefully vote the bribed ones out. Each of us must check the records of incumbents running for office — state and federal. If one received some huge donation and then voted to benefit that donor, please cast your strong vote against him and for the opponent, whoever he is — even if he is a yellow dog.
Lorraine Madison, St. Petersburg
The breakdown of responsibility Aug. 15, letter
Require youth to serve
The answer to this serious problem is simple: conscription.
If every young person in this country was required by law to serve our wonderful country for at least two years, as in other democratic countries, the social ills we are experiencing would disappear. Every military veteran would agree that some kind of basic training would solve this problem.
Donald A. Bostrom, St. Petersburg
Protecting pocketbooks | Aug. 15, commentary
Don't forget utilities …
Pam Bondi wrote, "One of my most important obligations as attorney general of Florida is to enforce the laws that ensure a competitive and fair marketplace." This was in reference to the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, saying the merger could expose Florida consumers to millions in higher fares and fees.
Why isn't she doing anything about the billions of dollars the citizens of Florida have paid to Progress/ Duke Energy for nothing? The citizens of Florida can choose to fly another airline, ride the train, even drive. What the citizens of Florida can't do is use another power company.
Joanne Simmons, St. Petersburg
… and insurance rates
It's nice to know that Pam Bondi is concerned about the negative effects on Floridians of the airline merger, but where was she when the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott tied the hands of the insurance commissioner from negotiating lower insurance rates for Floridians?
Michael Finch, Pinellas Park
Three simple words: campaign finance reform. They change everything we know about elections.
Does the Supreme Court understand the simple things? A person is not a corporation. A democracy is a government of the people. The "people" may work for a corporation. The corporation is not the people.
The "people" are what make our democracy. We the people demand campaign finance reform.
Barbara Weis, Sun City Center