Benedict's thoroughly modern resignation | Feb. 13 commentary
No perfect papal predictability
I agree with Melinda Henneberger that Pope Benedict's plan to resign is extraordinary. I agree that Benedict is hard to classify as conservative. He is an orthodox Catholic as one would expect.
But she goes on to say that the next pope will likely be similar. He will be an orthodox Catholic, of course, but he will not be another Benedict.
There are huge differences in popes. Older people will remember Pius XII, whose successor, John XXIII, was as different as night and day. His own successor, Paul VI, was his own man, as was the larger-than-life John Paul II.
I haven't the faintest idea who the next pope will be; nor would I speculate on what changes he will bring to the church. But there will be changes and there will be surprises.
Lucy Fuchs, Brandon
Medal created for cyber, drone wars | Feb. 14
Hardly a 'warfare' honor
Why would any serving military person be proud to receive the newly announced Warfare Medal? Medals are for those who display valor on the field of battle, risking their lives in the defense of their country.
The military personnel who operate the drones and other remotely controlled weapons are highly skilled, but they aren't exactly risking their lives. They sit in safe, comfortable environments thousands of miles away from the scenes of war.
Issuing these "warfare" medals surely diminishes the worthiness of other decorations awarded to those who justly deserve them.
Jill Maden, Spring Hill
Monarchical intent | Feb. 14 letter
What about Bush, Reagan?
The letter writer is clearly not much of a student of history. But why let facts get in the way of a good theme that Republicans want to put forth?
Fifteen seconds of effort on an Internet search engine found that the current president has issued 144 executive orders. George W. Bush, the previous president, issued 291. The "blessed" Ronald Reagan issued 381 during his tenure.
If this president is arrogant at a mere 144, how arrogant does that make Reagan or Bush? Or is arrogance merely reserved for Democrats trying to circumvent petulant and obstructive Republicans?
Philip Ryan, Land O'Lakes
Drink, don't dry | Feb. 14
Rubio's upward charge
I wish everyone would lighten up on Marco Rubio for the "aqua-lunge" during his State of the Union rebuttal. After all, it was a bottle of water instead of a Republican Party credit card. He is clearly evolving.
Tom Lange, St. Pete Beach
Out to outlaw red-light snap | Feb. 10
Cameras save lives
I understand why a legislator with five family violations for running red lights might have a personal vendetta to outlaw red light cameras — even if it's not in the public's interest. What is incomprehensible to me is why more than half of the members of a House committee would vote with Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami.
The overwhelming evidence is that these cameras save lives, encourage better driving habits and free law enforcement to do more important work. Let criminals pay for the cost of enforcing our laws and protecting the public from their acts. Running a red light is a potentially deadly criminal act.
Jerry Stephens, Riverview
Bill on campaign finance blasted | Feb. 15
It's about personal gain
In the ongoing saga of hypocritical leadership, House Speaker Will Weatherford and the Republican leadership put forth a bill described as campaign finance reform but in reality continues the situation that allowed the Jim Greer misappropriation of funds. Political parties can continue to subsidize lavish lifestyles and provide expensive dinners for campaign donors. All this while teachers and state workers have gone without raises or cost-of-living increases for six years.
When will the public realize that their leaders are taking advantage of laws for personal gain?
David Pike, Odessa
President urges: Let's get this done | Feb. 13
Selling a fantasy
I am really excited after hearing President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. We are going to stop global warming, we'll have clean, renewable energy, free preschools, higher minimum wages, lower deficits and a robust middle class. This will all be achieved through new government programs, new legislation and executive orders and best yet, it won't cost us a dime according to the president. What a great country, and please pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Is that bridge in Brooklyn still for sale?
Craig Costa, St. Petersburg
Misery's end | Feb. 15
Briny, whiny passengers
I have no sympathy for these whining voyagers. The floating monstrosities that they choose to ride are so big that many spend all their time in discos, casinos, spas and restaurants and don't remember they are at sea until something goes wrong.
Of course it's unpleasant when toilets don't work, but being at sea is a lot different than being on land, where you can call a plumber. I was on a tanker once called the Coalinga Hills that drifted for almost a week in the Bay of Bengal before the engineers could fix the problem, but that is something that you have to expect at sea. I'm sure the crew of the Carnival Triumph did all they could and they did not deserve some of the critical signs that were printed. Those who want a risk-free experience should "voyage" to places like Disney World where they can get in their cars and drive home when something goes wrong.
R.G. Wheeler, Lealman
Guns in schools
Take a cue from retiree
Teachers who are thinking of arming themselves, think again. I am a retired teacher who taught at South Boston High School during the height of busing, when we had about 100 state troopers in the building to help prevent violence. The troopers took the bullets out of their guns while in the school; they did not want to have some student get hold of their gun while they were in the middle of a breaking up a brawl and shoot someone.
If you are a middle or high school teacher you have more than likely broken up a fight and know how irrational and excited students become. Are you prepared to live with the fact that a student may have been shot or killed with your gun? Are you and the school system prepared to fight the lawsuit that will surely follow?
Thomas Boussy, Quincy, Mass.