Home team backs Akin | Aug. 28
Insensitive talk about violence
As a pastor for over 25 years, my ministry has been involved in compassionate care for people who have been the victims of sexual violence including incest and rape. The healing process is very difficult and painful.
I find the current public conversation about "legitimate" rape to be extremely insensitive. Having been sexually violated, must a woman now defend whether the violence was "legitimate"? "Forcible"? Then what is "illegitimate" rape? What is "nonforcible" incest? To engage in this kind of conversation only exacerbates the violation and traumatization experienced by women whose lives have already been damaged by sexual violence. It does not promote healing.
The Christian gospel teaches that every person deserves dignity and respect. When women have been victimized by sexual violence, they deserve the full support of the faith community as well as society in the healing process, including the option of safely terminating an unwanted pregnancy.
If you respect human rights, vote, and work to end sexual violence against women and men in our country and the world.
Rev. Kim P. Wells, St. Petersburg
is no longer optional
I am tired of hearing liberals try to demonize the Paul Ryan budget plan, which will now be an integral part of the Mitt Romney/Ryan election platform.
They scream that the comprehensive Ryan plan is too radical. Really? And the Democratic plan is to do absolutely nothing and let the entitlement programs go bankrupt, which they are set to do in the not so distant future.
Somehow doing nothing and letting this happen is not radical? How profoundly pathetic. Ryan has put himself on the line and actually created a plan that does the tough job of balancing the needs for seniors now (as well as those approaching retirement), and reforming entitlements for us younger folks. Liberals are free to criticize the plan, and there should be a healthy debate; but that is only if they have some kind of alternate plan to offer.
Doing nothing is not a plan. Neither is simply piling on more debt and raising more taxes. To me, that sounds like the radical option.
As a younger taxpayer, I want to see entitlements reformed so that my generation won't see a mess like this as we approach retirement. I want more control over my Social Security with the option of private accounts.
Why? Because I can't think of any institution that is more unqualified to look after my retirement than the federal government.
Ryan Needler, Naples
City's fire fee plan is a gift to big money Aug. 28, John Romano column
John Romano's column hit the nail on the head. Recent iterations of the plan originally put forth by Mayor Bill Foster do little to curb the inherent unfairness in letting the city's largest corporations and landowners potentially save thousands of dollars at the expense of the average citizen. It is nothing less than corporate welfare.
Simply letting nonprofits off the hook doesn't solve the problem. It will not help the average home/land owner. I can understand the desire to have everyone share some of the costs for fire protection, but why let the big guys off the hook? It's going to take a whole lot more men and equipment to put out a fire at Tyrone Square Mall that at my 1,050-square-foot house.
While I still think a simple property tax millage increase is the best and fairest way to go, if the goal is to make sure everyone pays something, why not base a fee on the prehomesteaded value of a property — no caps included. Perhaps that is not legally feasible, but we definitely need more thinking outside the box on this one.
David Henderson, St. Petersburg
Republican National Convention
Applause and amnesia
The 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa was an amazing event. We saw a passing hurricane, wire cages locking people out, hordes of armed police and National Guard swarming every event and making Tampa look like a police state, and much more. One had to struggle greatly to try and see this as "the land of the free."
George W. Bush was kept away for good reason, but on Wednesday Condoleezza Rice was bought in to speak and received thunderous cheering and applause. It was interesting that the attendees seemed to have forgotten the Iraq invasion, based on lies, which cost 5,000 U.S. lives and tens of thousands of dead civilians. No recollection either of secret prison camps, torture, wiretapping, or the other shameful behaviors that took place in the Bush administration in which she was a key player.
Walt Seely, Riverview
Musical serendipity: Two teachers reunited Aug. 30
What an uplifting story — a delight to read. Lane DeGregory never ceases to thrill me. I feel as though I know them just by reading the article. DeGregory is not only a gifted writer, but her words form a circle that draws one in. Like the old-fashioned storyteller, she never disappoints.
I don't think these women need to fear that they will ever be friendless again. DeGregory has given them a measure of celebrity. What great gals they are! Thank you for this kind of journalism.
Lilyan V. Dayton, New Port Richey
Lifted my spirits
What a poignant story by Lane DeGregory. I loved her opening paragraph, giving a clue to how two friends and pianists reconnected all the way from Ukraine to an apartment building in Clearwater. It seemed as if it could be a Hollywood movie. I especially loved the part where Valentina bought a piano for $300 so they can play any time they want.
This was a fantastic human interest story that lifted my spirits after reading about Hurricane Isaac and all the heartbreaking stories.
Holly Edmonds, New Port Richey
A clear choice | Aug. 30, letter
Look for the facts
A recent letter framed the upcoming election by providing a smugly partisan — and breathtakingly inaccurate — explanation of the positions of the two parties. One can only hope the electorate has a better understanding of what each candidate actually wants to see happen. Hint: Super PAC ads are not a good source of information, nor are candidate assertions rated "False" or "Pants on Fire."
Charles Stewart, New Port Richey