Even those of us who research and teach about the Holocaust were astounded when these findings were cataloged and released. There seems to be no end to the chapters illustrating man's capacity for evil, as well as man's capacity to ignore evil.
As the world struggles to make sense of these new facts and figures, we are reminded again of what happens to a country when intolerance, prejudice and hatred are encouraged, when ideology becomes more important than democratic values, and the ever-present danger of remaining silent and indifferent to the sufferings of others. In the words of Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Like our partners in Washington, D.C., the Florida Holocaust Museum is proud to continue to educate current and future generations about the Holocaust and other genocides, in the hope that an increased sense of awareness will bring a new understanding of the responsibility we all bear as citizens and human beings.
We are grateful for the work the researchers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum have done over the past 20 years on this topic and many others, and feel fortunate to be living in a time when research is disseminated so quickly. We send our thanks to Eric Lichtblau and the New York Times for this article, and congratulate the Tampa Bay Times and news outlets around the country for publicizing such important research. Thank you for continuing to give a voice to those who were silenced.
Elizabeth Gelman, executive director, and Marty Borell, board chair, Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg
More Medicaid not right for state March 13, commentary
Let them try private market
I read Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford's column with dismay. He states that he is "committed to ensuring that the existing safety net is there for those who are in need." Has he looked around at the citizens in Florida and seen the growth of those who are "in need."
I suggest that every person in our state government give up state-issued health insurance, go out and buy personal health insurance and see what the premiums are. Then perhaps they too might have to use the emergency room, as costs, depending upon their age for the premiums, are quite high. The rest of us who pay for insurance are carrying the load. Does Weatherford care about us ?
He is looking into a crystal ball and making an assumption about costs four years down the road, as the first three years for Medicaid are fully covered by the federal government.
I don't think our state government is truly taking care of its people, and this decision just proves it once again.
Rosanne Paris, Palm Harbor
Cliches won't help people
After reading Will Weatherford's article I was stunned. I reread it and moved on to disbelief. Words like heartless, simplistic and embarrassing spin around in my head after reading this article.
What in the world do cliches like "all or nothing" actually mean? How do poor people on Medicaid actually fare worse than people without insurance? How are people who have no hope of affording private insurance supposed to get help?
Can anyone still believe that our health care system works well? If you are employed in a service industry job without benefits and get really sick, according to the speaker it is better not to have the government intrude in your life. If a poor person does go to the emergency room and is unable to pay, who does the speaker think picks up the tab? Who picked up the medical bills for the speaker's unfortunate brother? What is the alternative secret plan that the conservatives in Tallahassee propose?
The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect. It is, however, a baby step in the direction of getting more people health care in this country.
What is Weatherford's better way, other than empty talking points and political put-downs of our president and government?
Thomas Maciocha, Tampa
Time to do the right thing
Will Weatherford makes so many misleading statements. Only Republicans voted against the Medicaid expansion, yet he tries to represent it as a "bipartisan" decision. "Florida doesn't have enough doctors to serve the expanded population" is saying there aren't enough doctors so some people have to go without medical treatment — a callous, unfeeling statement.
He says 82 percent of the expansion population is "able-bodied adults," as if that means they should not get Medicaid. If they cannot get or afford medical care and insurance, how is that relevant? Particularly disgusting is his citing statistics that Medicaid patients were more likely to have late-stage cancers. The reason that happened is simple: Those people had not seen a doctor until they had Medicaid so their conditions went undiagnosed.
Republicans had three years to work on an alternative to Medicaid expansion, yet they chose to spend that time fighting Obamacare. Even after they lost they did not come up with an alternative. To say now that you are going to "investigate and pursue viable alternatives" is an insult to the people of Florida. You've had three years you've done nothing. Now do the right thing and expand the Medicaid program that your own family used.
Howard Taylor, St. Petersburg
Skylines gaining more lights | March 13
Future flood worries
I couldn't help but shake my head after reading this article about all the new development going up in Tampa and St. Petersburg. It is remarkable how blind people are to the potential problems associated with all this new development.
While there may be a place for the kind of feel-good, Chamber of Commerce boosterism this article reflects, good journalism demands more: It needs to address all sides of the story.
For example, did anyone ever consider asking Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn or the various representatives of the developers these simple questions: How high above sea level is the building site for the new developments, and how do you plan to address the inevitable rise in sea level that is forecast to occur due to climate change?
We cannot keep ignoring the reality of sea level rise. Why are millions being spent to erect huge new apartment buildings in Tampa and St. Petersburg on sites already located in flood zones — places that will be completely underwater with only a modest rise in sea level?
We can only hope it will be a lesson learned before we have our own disaster like Sandy or Katrina right here in the Tampa Bay area.
Tyler Carder, Largo
House GOP touts plan to balance budget March 13
Heading off the cliff
President Barack Obama says he will not balance the budget "just for the sake of it" and that our insurmountable debt is "not an immediate crisis." I guess we can just drive off that cliff when we come to it, after he is out of office.
The House GOP has a budget that will balance in 10 years. It is too little too late, but still has no chance of enactment. The Senate Democrats, after not producing a budget for several years, have one that will never balance. The office of the president, for the first time in 90 years, has not even released a budget by now. How to hide, having amassed more debt in one term than all his predecessors combined, must be a daunting task for our president.
No matter: The Democrats perpetual power plan is well underway. They've taken us past the tipping point with more people living on a government check than a taxpaying private sector one. Many of those are retirees who would today be millionaires instead of subsisting on dog food if their earnings had been moderately invested instead of having been confiscated to feed the red ink rat hole. Many others know nothing other than living on the dole without any real work requirement.
Count me absolutely disgusted with the state of the union and thoroughly horrified by the obvious shape of things to come.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
New Yorkers still are free to supersize March 12
Blow against nanny state
When a N.Y. state judge ruled against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on large sugary sodas, it demonstrated there may be some hope left for this country. It was definitely a blow against the nanny state and a win for personal choice. As usual, the ban was so typical of many liberal ideas in that the more annoying the policy is, the less practical effect it has on solving the intended issue.
If Bloomberg is truly concerned over the extra health costs of obesity, he should find a way to charge more for health insurance on those at higher risk due to being overweight. But that would never occur to him because another hallmark of liberal ideas is to make everyone suffer instead of those few really at the core of the problem.
Darren LeRoux, St. Petersburg