I'm a snowbird from Miramichi, New Brunswick. I was amused by Robert Trigaux's column describing Tampa Bay's concern about a lack of identity. It has to be one of those "can't see the trees for the forest" things.
A good Tampa Bay slogan or brand would be: "You'll find your Florida here!"
Is there another Florida area that offers as many of the things that enrich life and visits? There's theater, concerts, galleries, ethnic festivals, recreation, beaches, parks, every cuisine imaginable, music of all kinds, big-league sports, racing, golf, a casino, day cruises.
I saw Buddy Guy here weeks before he stood next to the president of the United States for his Kennedy Center honor. I saw Wicked at the Straz and will never miss any of the August Wilson cycle at American Stage. There was Tony Bennett last spring, Cirque de Soleil last month. I could fill a page if you would let me. It's all easily available within less than an hour. I've met people who live in New York who tell me they can't do, so easily, the things there that they can here.
Oh, and a newspaper I adore.
Is there anywhere else people could find the same banquet of experiences? We joke that we should be keeping Gulfport secret lest we get squeezed out.
"Seize life daily" is too fuzzy and generic. It has more to do with philosophy than place, and it is a place you're promoting.
I've never met anyone here who wanted to leave.
David Cadogan, Gulfport
Clinton gives forceful defense | Jan. 24
After watching the Benghazi hearing, I came away with some thoughts:
First, whether Republican or Democrat, one cannot fail to recognize Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's grasp on global politics and diplomacy. Most of the accolades lavished on her by the Democratic questioners were well deserved. She has done a good job.
Second, this hearing was a textbook display of the exercise of party politics at its worst. Other than Sens. Rand Paul, John McCain and Ron Johnson, the questions were, as the saying goes, "softballs." To my recollection, not one question from the others called for any degree of admission of failure from Clinton or anybody associated with the Benghazi tragedy, especially the White House.
Michael P. Catalano, Palm Harbor
How prevalent is gun usage in violent crime in Florida? Gun opponents are led to believe that guns are used in many crimes, and even that guns cause crime. It should please them to know that, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's 2010 report on firearm usage in violent crime (identified as murder, rape, robbery, and assault and battery), firearms are involved only 24.7 percent of the time. In 75 percent, or three out of four times, criminals devise other methods and weapons to harm victims, despite the wide availability of guns and the easy access to them, both said to be causes of crime.
This information is available in the Florida Statistical Abstract 2011 prepared by the University of Florida. These facts should provide some relief to those opposed to private ownership of guns. Of course, gun opponents already know that law-abiding citizens — gun owners or not — do not commit crimes. But it may be a surprise to many that relatively few crimes in Florida involve guns.
Bob Womack, Crystal River
Bringing in jobs can be brutal | Jan. 20
Spot the difference
A section of this article states that violent video games have been blamed in the proliferation of mass shootings. Factually, the United States has the highest percentage of homicides by firearms in the civilized world at 3.2 per 100,000. The next closest is Sweden at 0.7 per 100,000. The percentages drop in half after Sweden until you reach Japan where it is zero.
Factually, all these countries have access to violent video games and movies. What's the difference? These countries do not have the access to firearms that we have in interpreting our Second Amendment. On the other hand, because of universal health care, in all likelihood they have much better mental health facilities. Meanwhile, our government has reduced funding to mental health programs.
Charles Rutz, Clearwater
Rights and responsibilities | Jan. 23, letter
Check on tyranny
A letter writer states that the 2nd Amendment was written to protect the nation from invasion. I believe that this is wrong. The 2nd Amendment was written to protect us from our own government. Our founders knew from history that the nations that were suppressed were the nations that had unarmed citizens.
Nor was the 2nd Amendment written to protect hunters' rights or to protect homeowners from protecting there homes against intruders. It was written to protect us all from tyranny.
Mike Messina, Brooksville
'Hidden tax' zings well-off couples; Where two-parent families are no advantage; and Unmarrieds, thy name is? | Jan. 20
Families under attack
In his article about student achievement, W. Bradford Wilcox says, "But based on my experience as a regular faculty reviewer for the scholarship, the nominees are not diverse in one respect: family structure. The vast majority of the nominees come from intact, two-parent families."
This assessment of the benefit to children of living in an intact nuclear family is only one of a myriad that reach the same conclusion.
The other two referenced articles are graphic examples of the attacks continuously being launched by our culture against traditional marriage and traditional families.
First, President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bullied the House into approving a symbolic increase in taxes on "the wealthy" that is a disincentive for people to marry. According to the "hidden tax" article, a married couple will be forced to pay increased taxes on a combined income of $250,000, while the same couple, if unmarried, wouldn't have to pay the increased taxes until their combined earnings reached $400,000.
Then, on the same page with Wilcox's article, Elizabeth Weil, in her article about unmarried couples, says, "A generation ago, the unmarrieds might have envied the marrieds. Now the tide seems to be shifting. 'Can I switch teams and join the unmarrieds?' one wife of 10 years told me. 'Don't want to break up, just looks more fun over there.' "
These cultural attacks on traditional marriage are a disservice to children, who develop best in the stability and nurture that come from living in a home with their married parents.
Terry Kemple, president, Community Issues Council, Valrico
No wonder she sounded good | Jan. 23
Fakery in high places
So Beyonce was "faking it" at the inauguration? No surprise here. It fits right in with President Barack Obama's entire career — all smoke and mirrors.
Gary Brown, Clearwater
Scoring Obama's first term | Jan. 20
Facts and positions change
Your analysis of President Barack Obama's first term omitted a universal premise regarding decisionmaking. That principle is that one decides based on the information one has at the time and changes when new data are available.
Social examples of this premise include divorce, job changes, moving and changes in college majors. Applying this principle shows that Obama is like most of us. We all know folks who refuse to make changes when new information is available and their outcomes.
By following the principle noted above, Obama should not be graded poorly for changing his mind on certain issues. We expect that information available to a president is better than that available to a presidential candidate.
Bill Duval, Dunedin
To keep Rays, unite or else | Jan. 23, editorial
Not so fast
More talk of a new stadium for the Rays? Can't we at least entertain the possibility of staying in the Trop through the end of the lease? Polls show most fans would rather hang on to the Trop anyway, at least for a few more years.
The Rays are last in attendance and woefully lacking in corporate sponsorship. Assuming local leadership can settle on a location, we will spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a new stadium and hope they come? Really? That's the business plan?
If the Trop is outdated, and "not up to Major League standards," then upgrade it.
Doug Rhea, Tampa