Donations let giving spirit of son live on | April 8, Ernest Hooper column
A donor's generous gift of sight
As a recent recipient of a donated cornea, I cannot agree more with Ernest Hooper's column on the importance of organ donation. In my role as a hospital social worker, I often provided counseling and support to families who, facing the loss of a loved one, had to make decisions about organ donation.
In my own family, I saw firsthand how the donation of an organ can give the recipient new life. Facing blindness at age 26, my father, then a medical intern, underwent one of the first cornea transplants performed in the United States in 1946. His new cornea enabled him to go on to have a successful career as a thoracic surgeon and an early pioneer in open-heart surgery. When his eye disease again threatened his sight 15 years later, he underwent a second transplant and began a second career in the U.S. State Department as the head of clinical medicine.
In the days following my own surgery, I often think about the donor of my new cornea. Reflecting on the issues of racism and prejudice that are dividing our country today, the race, ethnicity, religion or gender of my donor does not concern me — rather, it is the kindness and generosity that they or their family showed in giving me the gift of sight.
Mary Kaplan, New Port Richey
Say no to booze in groceries
Ask any Florida legislator if their phone has been ringing off the hook from constituents who can't get enough vodka or rum, and they would have to say "no." Then why are they pushing hard liquor into our grocery stores without public input or backing?
It appears the driving force behind this change are corporate executives at big box stores who will profit greatly. They don't care about Florida families and are too cheap to spend money building a separate entrance. The current separate entrance policy allows for ID verification at the door along with cameras monitoring every corner, provides an avenue to prevent underage drinking, and protects our friends in recovery from making an impulse purchase. Does anyone want our children growing up with liquor as part of the food shopping experience?
Binge drinking or excessive alcohol use is responsible for 88,000 deaths in our nation, and Florida is ranked third in the nation for fatal DUI crashes. Only 16 other states allow this type of distribution. Thirty-four states do not allow hard liquor to be mixed with grocery items.
Other than creating a one-stop shopping experience that includes alcohol, I can't think of any reason for passing this bill. Our state doesn't need it and the public, the few who are aware of this proposed change, don't want it.
Teresa Miller, Tampa
Missile strike justified | April 8, editorial
U.S. history of interference
The missile strike was unconstitutional and does not serve the interests of the American people. Decades of failed U.S. foreign policy and acts of aggression in the Middle East have been nothing but a detriment to our economic and financial security. How many more trillions of dollars must be wasted, how many more lives and futures must be destroyed before this insanity ends?
For decades, the imperial United States has illegally interfered in the politics and affairs of Middle Eastern countries. In 1953, American and British intelligence removed the democratically elected prime minster of Iran from office and replaced him with a suitable puppet. Since then we have been involved in one political disaster after another, to include the invasion of Iraq based on false evidence that "justified" our aggression. One mistake has followed the next, to include our direct or indirect involvement in recent fiascoes in Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, and of course Syria. That our legacy of failure in the Middle East is unparalleled seems to make little difference to our leaders.
We should learn from the past and take into account the rise and fall of other "empires" and that it was arrogance that brought them to their knees.
Henry Pierson, Hernando Beach
Senator correct on death sentences | April 10
Overstepping her authority
This PolitiFact analysis is ridiculous. State Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, is correct that the Supreme Court has banned mandatory death sentences. However, it has upheld the option of a death penalty in states that have it.
To attempt relate this to the Orlando prosecutor is blatant misdirection. Aramis Ayala was elected to prosecute cases for Florida, and Florida has the death penalty as an option. For the prosecutor to predetermine that she will not seek the death penalty indicates that she won't consider options that she doesn't like. What other options for sentencing in other crimes will she decide she won't consider? She apparently will make her own rules for sentencing rather than determining the appropriate penalty for each crime based on the state's Constitution and applicable laws.
She essentially wants to make her own laws rather than evaluate each case on its merits and apply the law in determining the penalty.
Ronald Hall, Lutz
Medicaid may require fees | April 8
Learn what it's like
Rep. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, is pushing a bill to have Medicaid recipients put "skin in the game" by paying a $15 fee per month and having a job, or they lose the benefits. He has heard from anonymous providers that recipients are not taking the program seriously.
Memo to our bay area representatives: Anyone poor enough to receive Medicaid already has as much "skin in the game" as they can afford; $15 is a lot when you have nothing. Keeping or getting a job when you're coughing and hacking is difficult.
Cummings should do his job and fully represent all his constituents. He can start by going to the homes of Medicaid recipients to get a firsthand understanding of what being poor and sick is like. He needs to learn what $15 means to someone earning the minimum wage. Then he can explain why they don't deserve health care or a living wage.
Allan Ardis, Wesley Chapel