Crist's wife loses joint custody of kids | Feb. 13
Sad tale has political implications
This is truly a sad and shocking story. Children are a blessing and gift from God. If you have been blessed with children, you know it is not easy. The responsibility parenthood carries is awesome, and forever. My children are grown, yet I still feel a moral and loving responsibility for them and their children. And I would, without thinking twice, give my life for them.
Charlie Crist's choice of his wife should make all of us consider any political aspirations he may have. As they say, we are judged by the company we keep.
Judy Lavaron, St. Petersburg
School 'wall of shame' abandoned | Feb. 16
Plenty of praise, too
As a Jefferson High School teacher who cares deeply for my students, co-workers, the administration and staff, I am disappointed by your shaming of Jefferson teachers.
As a teacher, I try to be a model for my students. One thing I model and try to teach them is that it's wise, effective and kind to praise more than criticize and shame. I attempt to match each critical statement made in class and unpleasant news communicated to parents with at least 10 positive, praising, remarks.
Knowing the teachers who voiced their frustrations with students' lack of basic knowledge, I know that they do the same and that the students quoted have been repeatedly praised, raised up and supported by these teachers.
I hope that the Tampa Bay Times does the same and one day praises local schools, teachers and students on the front page. Lessons are learned every day at Jefferson High School and it's obvious that teachers learned from this episode. May we all continue to learn and grow wiser and kinder.
Karen Colton, Tampa
Reaping what we sow
There is something shameful about this incident, but it certainly isn't the teachers' behavior. The "wall of shame" is a perfect reflection of the current state of our education system as a result of the FCAT. If you look carefully at the questions and answers they share a common element: social studies. Two subjects encumber our K-12 curriculum, English and math, while equally important subjects such as history, government and geography suffer.
I do not fault teachers for blowing off steam in a safe, anonymous manner. We pay teachers insulting salaries, eliminate classroom resources and obstruct creativity in the name of the FCAT. It's not teachers who are the problem; it's the oblivious politicians who have neither qualification nor experience make education decisions.
Jeremy Beau, Sarasota
Chuck Hagel hearings
I am reminded of what an English cleric, Charles Colton (1780-1832), once said: "Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer."
Stan Owens, Ruskin
Brand Rubio | Feb. 17
Marketed to please
I can't figure out if the this is the making of the Monkees or the second Manchurian Candidate movie. If you remember, the Monkees were created for TV to be the next big rock band in the '60s; while in the second Manchurian Candidate movie Raymond Shaw was programmed to become the next president.
I guess it is too much to hope that our candidates for the highest office in the land will evolve into their roles as potential presidential nominees rather than be created to fit the role.
In Marco Rubio's case, how are we to ever know what his beliefs are since he is being developed as a brand by handlers? Oh well, the Monkees did give us a few memorable songs. But I can guarantee you that I'm not "a Believer."
Dean Hayes, Valrico
Senate passes domestic violence bill | Feb. 13
The Violence Against Women Act is regarded as a milestone in legislative efforts to reduce domestic abuse. Groups that support the act indicated that between 1994 and 2010 a 64 percent reduction in domestic violence has been observed. The act provides grants to state and local authorities for legal assistance, transitional housing, law enforcement training, stalker databases and domestic violence hotlines.
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved the extension of the Violence Against Women Act for the next five years. However, Sen. Marco Rubio was one of eight Republicans who voted against the bill. Was Rubio voting his belief, or positioning himself with the conservative right wing of the Republican Party for a future presidential run? I'll let the readers be the judge.
Carlos E. Mendez, Apopka
Off to a poor start
On the same day that he gave the response to the State of the Union, Marco Rubio joined 22 other Republican senators in voting "no" on the act to curb violence against women. He has also made it clear that he will not support any meaningful reforms to our gun laws.
In his reply to the president's address he claimed that the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by government and not by bankers and Wall Street, a fact-free opinion supported only by Republican talking points and Wall Street bankers.
Not a good start for the Republican savior.
William Adams, St. Petersburg
Seeing red on cameras | Feb. 17
Cameras do the job
I am seeing red on cameras because of the attempt to ban them. Most of the objectors are red-light runners who feel it is their right to do so — the same with speeders, DUIs, etc.
My objection is that the fines are too low. They should be at least doubled. As to rear-end collisions, I feel that any driver who hits someone who is stopping at a yellow light, let alone red, should be charged with the same fine as if he or she had run the light.
If a state referendum where held on the subject, I feel certain red-light cameras would win by a large margin.
Robert Pattee, New Port Richey