On climate, we're all in this together | Jan. 20, Robyn Blumner column
Developing world needs curbs, too
Robyn Blumner's column on climate change was perfectly timed with President Barack Obama's inaugural speech in which he addressed the issue. The industrialized nations of the world have also come on board, as their governments and their manufacturing industries recognize that green is good, although all parties have a long way to go to clean up their fossil fuel needs and the emissions they create.
Vehicles and the fuel they burn and the emissions that they emit are some of the biggest culprits. In North America about 18 million new vehicles will go on the road in 2013. The good news is that these vehicles will be replacing older gas-guzzling and emission-spewing ones. But all may be in vain as the emerging economies of Brazil, India and China keep growing at a phenomenal rate. By the year 2020, it's estimated that a quarter-billion more vehicles will be on the road in these three countries alone.
With the energy needed to keep their factories running and put fuel in their cars — plus the emissions that they will create — unless the rest of the world does something spectacular, those nations could well negate any good that will be done by the other nations of the world.
David Foote, Dunedin
Carbon 'user fee'
Al Gore started this debate about climate, and it has devolved into just another partisan food fight.
No one knows the future, but the stakes are so high we should hedge our bets. One side hates carbon; the other side hates spending money we do not have. So I propose a "user fee" on fuel-borne carbon, with its revenue going to a trust fund for reducing the national debt. This would give both sides some of what they say they want.
John G. Chase, Palm Harbor
Privacy vs. the paparazzi Jan. 24, commentary
Stop all the whining. It was just fine when Jill Kelley was hobnobbing with the upper echelon, getting kudos from the famous, receiving honorary consular status license plates and using them to her advantage. She only pointed the finger at herself by demanding protection from the media because of her self-perceived status. I have absolutely no sympathy for her.
Richard Kohls, Pinellas Park
Clinton gives forceful defense | Jan. 24
They're in step
If Bill Clinton is considered the Fred Astair of dancing around the truth, then his wife has got to be Ginger Rogers.
Sam Pannill, Largo
Plans aim to gut gun rights Jan. 24, commentary
On guns, safety first
Marion Hammer's article really made me scratch my head. She claims that universal background checks "turn traditional innocent conduct into a criminal offense" when they do nothing of the kind. They simply ensure that the person you are giving a weapon to does not have a criminal record or mental illness. Even if that person is someone you know, isn't it worth the extra effort to prevent another potential killing of an innocent person?
She also seems to be concerned about the price of guns going up to cover the cost of background checks. I wouldn't want to use that argument with the parents of the children in Newtown, Conn., who lost their lives.
Lastly, she makes the false assumption that "NRA members and the nation's 100 million firearm owners will fight" these proposals. Does the former president of the NRA realize that only 7 percent of NRA members polled oppose universal background checks, or does she just not care?
John Krevens, New Port Richey
Registration and rights
Marion Hammer basically says that gun owners are law-abiding citizens and not criminals and there are already laws that address federally registered gun dealers.
But gun owners should be proud that they have passed background checks and should resent that they can be potentially identified with the criminal class. Gun legislation will be designed to place and keep guns in the hands of responsible citizens and keep them away, as much as possible, from the irresponsible ones.
There is no criminal association in registering your car, your boat, your home, your patents or copyrights, or any other property of value. In fact, the Constitution grants the right to own and possess property. By registering your property, you establish legally enforced rights to that property.
There is no inconsistency in the right to bear arms and the requirement to register personal property. Actually, the two go hand in hand.
Stuart Berney, Tampa
In little Noah's honor, sensible gun legislation | Jan. 23, commentary
Limits to gun control
Those calling for drastic gun law changes talk as if it were possible to hermetically seal the U.S. border. Places with strict gun control like Brazil and Mexico have learned the hard way that making it too difficult for the average citizen to own a gun only fuels the black market.
There is an international trade in small arms, and corrupt officials are easy to buy in lots of places. And there is another still largely untapped reserve of illegal guns: crude, homemade but effective weapons.
There is a limit to what "gun control" can accomplish without creating a worse problem than it claims to cure.
Leonard T. Martino, Tampa
Where the birds are | Jan. 20
Missing the birds
The silence is deafening; I miss the cacophony of the birds. The article in the Sunday edition about tourists and natives enjoying the birds in Florida hit a nerve. I'm a snowbird and have been coming to Florida for the past 16 years. I've always enjoyed the diverse bird population.
Here in Hillsborough County, at Little Harbor, birds abounded — pelicans, terns, gulls, anhinga, great blue heron and an occasional spoonbill. Last year, I brought a fife (I play with a Civil War band) and discovered the pelicans would literally line up along the shoreline when I played for them.
This year, very few birds could be found. I was puzzled as to what might have changed until one morning, shortly before sunrise, I heard shots being fired. I have heard this on subsequent occasions. I have no idea if these are blanks or live bullets, but it was enough to keep the birds away.
Jo Frohbieter-Mueller, Ruskin