Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature came together this legislative session to help improve Floridians' access to health care by making the Vaccine Access Act the law of the land in the Sunshine State. The act allows qualified Florida pharmacists to vaccinate adults against pneumonia and shingles. Floridians can receive these vaccinations starting in July from their local, immunizing pharmacist.
Few health advances provide more "bang for the buck" than vaccinations. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, vaccines are a safe, cost-effective way to prevent disease. Being vaccinated at a pharmacy can be done quickly, easily and cost-effectively, with no appointment needed.
The passage of the Vaccine Access Act will mean more Floridians will be vaccinated against pneumonia and shingles, just as more Floridians have received vaccines against influenza in the five years pharmacists have been allowed to provide them. With so many contentious issues dividing Floridians in Tallahassee, it is nice to see the all parties come together to make it easier for residents to be vaccinated against these painful and sometimes life-threatening diseases.
Walter Dartland, executive director, Consumer Federation of the Southeast, Tallahassee
Look at the whole picture | April 17, letter
Poor record to run on
Letter writers continue to make excuses for President Barack Obama. Granted, he did come into office at a time of crisis, but he didn't campaign on a platform of making things worse. The debt is skyrocketing, unemployment is still too high, and wages are stagnant. Nobody has ever made the charge that he should have fixed it all in three years.
As to the "blockades he has to run with the House Republicans," I must point out that he would have been much better off had there been blockades his first two years. His problem is a "stimulus" that was diverted to pay off political pals, a health care act that will fail because it does not attack costs, Solyndra, etc. If only he had been saved from himself, he and the country would be so much better off.
Chuck Reigle, St. Petersburg
Running the numbers on Obama's budget argument | April 18, commentary
Raise taxes, cut spending
David Brooks is correct to suspect that the Obama administration is not really serious about cutting the deficit. The problem is that Mitt Romney, if he is elected, will be just as unserious.
Democrats want to spend money to stimulate the economy and believe that with a larger economy they can then cut the deficit without real economic pain. Republicans believe they can cut taxes to stimulate the economy and then cut the deficit without real economic pain. The Republicans talk more about a balanced budget, but both the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations produced greatly increased deficits, so talk does not equal actual behavior.
The solution is to increase taxes and reduce spending, especially spending on middle class entitlement programs which are where most of the money goes. This is what the Europeans are doing and, of course, finding that austerity causes economic pain for many as well as slower growth. But they are putting their fiscal house in order.
Our middle class swing voters, who decide elections, continue to think they can get a free lunch and will vote for candidates who will give them what they want. This ensures that a devastating economic crisis will occur in the future.
Arthur Volbert, Gulfport
Karzai has vision of independence | April 18
No more Afghan aid
I was sickened when I read this article. I don't understand a mentality that has the Afghans saying "get out" on one hand and, on the other: "Oh, but before you go, can you leave us some sacks of money?"
Isn't it disingenuous to bleat about independence and then inquire how much of a handout the people you don't want there are willing to give you to fund said independence?
I think it's past time to get out, but without any funding. Until President Barack Obama is willing to stand up to some of these foreign leaders (and I use the term very loosely) the United States will never be in a position to be the world power we once were.
Dawn McCormack, New Port Richey
Miami answers: Baloney | April 17
Go to the source
The reprint of Andres Viglucci's article from the Miami Herald omitted the section of the original where a Cuban exile (Max Lesnick) is interviewed and gives specific locations in Havana that sold and were known throughout the Cuban capital for making genuine "Cuban" sandwiches.
This reference makes it clear that the sandwich originated in Havana. Exiles and immigrants in Key West, Tampa and Miami have morphed it into their own.
In typical Miami excess, the Cuban has grown into a gigantic, meat-laden sandwich that most people cannot finish. In Tampa, salami and other items are added as well.
While I personally prefer the Miami version, no one has mentioned the DNA that links all of this back to Havana. The medianoche sandwich, which as real aficionados know is a Cuban on the softer egg bread, is truly my favorite.
Eduardo Busquet, Tampa
Enjoy them all
I would like to good-naturedly put forward an alternative theory on the origin of the Cuban sandwich.
I spent most of my childhood and teen years (1974-83) in Key West and have gone back many times. Whether it was the store owned by the Five Brothers on Fleming, the laundromat on White Street, Uncle Garlin's on Flagler Avenue, or Jon's Grocery on First Street — the list goes on — there was never, ever, a slice of salami on a Cuban sandwich (we called them Cuban mixes).
I went to school with Cubans who had deep roots on the Rock — going back more than a century to the very same Cuban cigar factories that Mr. Ybor founded prior to the one he started in Tampa. Others were people who fled from Batista, Castro, and on the Mariel boatlifts. Each had their favorite place — the debate there was pressed or cold — but no salami.
As a history teacher, I would caution (with tongue in cheek) the Times from hitting Miami too hard about its lack of city status in the 1880s. Tampa was barely a village at the time and Key West was a thriving pirate town long before any of them.
Tampa can have its "Cuban," but as for making an official Florida Cuban sandwich, let's allow each community to claim its own and make no one a second-stringer.
Tom Chapman, Brandon
People, think before you ink | April 18, commentary
I respect Simon Doonan's right to his opinion, and I would hope that he would do me the same courtesy. First, I am a middle-aged lady, not a "chick," "swinger," "old broad" or "old hag."
I am a legal professional, not a member of some "sick and twisted cult." All 14 of my tattoos — except one — are hidden from view of the public. This is because these are my tattoos. Not for everyone else. When I go to the beach, you can see all of them (almost).
This is not some mindless "trend." These involved a lot of thought and preparation. Every tattoo that I have is for a reason, and actually means something to me. They are all tasteful, beautiful artwork. They will not look like a squashed squirrel. Furthermore, I know a whole lot of American veterans who would be quite offended at Doonan's suggestion that people with tattoos are "scary outsider rebel carny outlaw sociopaths."
I view Doonan as a narrow-minded bigot who — while appreciating tap dancing and accordion playing — does not know how to appreciate true art. I work extremely hard, go to school full time, take care of an elderly parent, two rescued dogs, and have a very happy 34-year marriage to a man I truly love (who also has a lot of tattoos). We each appreciate the other's artwork. I do not consider myself freaky. If you do, then that's your problem.
Rebecca D. Terrill, Zephyrhills
I agree with Simon Doonan that some things are better off without ink on them. This would include the page on which his article was written.
Doug Baska, Dade City