CentCom's new quarters | Nov. 29
Foreign wars sap U.S. freedoms
The government is spending $82 million for a new CentCom building because the current headquarters aren't big enough. Weren't we just told that all the troops would be out of Iraq by the end of this year? And that the United States is going to start drawing troops out of Afghanistan? Why would we need a new and larger building?
Rep C.W. Bill Young says that "we are guaranteeing the freedom of this country." If that statement weren't so sad, it would be laughable. Young and the Congress have taken one freedom after another away from the American people with the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, not to mention the warrantless spying on Americans.
The Senate is preparing to vote on a bill that would allow the U.S. military to arrest any U.S. citizen, anywhere in the world, and place him or her under indefinite detention without charge or trial. Is this the freedom Young is talking about?
Jack Smith, Oldsmar
St. Petersburg is sad | Nov. 29
Happy days are here
By coincidence my wife and I had already planned to take the day off together the day this story came out.
First we were sad as we started off in her convertible with the top down and sadly went to Gandy Beach and fed the seagulls. Next we were off to Ybor City, were we sadly had lunch at a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This was followed by a stop at Woody's, where we sadly watched as waves crashed the beach and the tide rushed in. From there we stopped at John's Pass where we were sad to watch dolphins (they also may have been sad). We then saw that the Bamboo Beer Garden was open, so we stopped in and sadly listened to the band play sad songs.
Then the saddest part of the whole day was sitting in our yard watching the stars come out on Nov. 29 while still in our shorts.
James Molloy, Pinellas Park
Protests misdirected | Nov. 29, letter
Public suggestions invited
A letter writer argues that the Occupy Tampa protesters are "disrupting the local park that the average family might want to enjoy." Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a large park, and the protesters take up less space than the large tent erected for the ice-skating rink. The occupation has not hindered anyone from enjoying the park. The writer also states it would be better for Occupy Tampa to occupy certain legislators' offices, rather than a park.
Those wishing to offer suggestions can make them at the Occupy Tampa general assembly. General assembly meetings are held daily at 7 p.m. and are always open to the public. Before the meeting, assembly moderators ask who wishes to be placed on the list of speakers. Any member of the public can have two minutes to speak their piece. Then the rest of the assembly is allowed to ask questions of the speaker and discuss the proposal. After the discussion, consensus is taken where the proposal may pass or be tabled.
Heidi Halsworth, Tampa
For quality of life, U.S. trails its peers | Nov. 30, commentary
Europe has own problems
Has Edward Renner read a newspaper lately? If he had, he would see that many of the countries that are supposedly better in quality of life are going broke following his proposed solutions. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy are broke.
The rest of Europe is praying for Germany to somehow save them as the euro is about to go down the drain. There have already been riots in the streets over the austerity measures that must be put in place to avoid economic collapse, and these will only intensify as Europe crumbles under the weight of its liberal economic policies.
Charles H. Heist, Clearwater
The fact that we are dead last in most major markers of a healthy and stable society is detrimental to our future, economically and otherwise.
As technology pushes forward and global competition intensifies, we in the United States will have to deal with all these social ills rather than investing in education and infrastructure. Our overall competitiveness and wealth will decline. Concentrating wealth in a smaller and smaller population is devastating our economy in the short and long run.
These major markers — income inequality, educational level, teenage pregnancy, infant mortality, and so on — are the issues that define the difference between First World nations and Third World nations. We are drifting toward the Third World.
Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater
Ohio State hires Meyer | Nov. 30
It seems odd that the Occupy movement has not shown up on the campus of Ohio State University to protest the outrageous $26 million-plus salary of its new football coach, Urban Meyer.
I am an avid fan of college football; however, when the salaries of college coaches far exceed that of the school's president, we must ask who is really in charge and what are the real goals of the institution.
Robert K. Reader, Clearwater
Bishop: Health law is wrong | Dec. 1
As a female and a practicing Catholic, I am outraged — and yes, embarrassed — by Bishop Robert Lynch's latest pronouncement.
Such medieval thinking at a time when so many people are sinking financially merely serves to alienate the many contributing members. Wake up, hierarchy — you're going to find out that you need us more than we need you.
Geneve Collins, St. Petersburg
Let the individual decide
Health insurance coverage in a non-theocratic state should be determined by broad economic and medical concerns. The individual patient, guided possibly by his church, can choose whether or not to utilize particular coverage provisions. Let the individual Roman Catholic conscience reject the use of birth control.
Bishop Robert Lynch should be trying to find a way to make our nation's new health care law better for all instead of tossing it out completely. His flock, including me, would be far better off if our church leaders showed more concern for our social welfare.
In the richest country in the world, we should not be seeing homeless families on our streets nor people not adequately served by our medical institutions. That is the real problem.
Michael Savino, Seminole