Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Not-so-convenient truths about new Senate filibuster rule

New filibuster rule tilts Senate balance | Nov. 22

Not-so-convenient truths

In reading two writings about the change in Senate filibuster rules I was not surprised that some interesting factoids weren't mentioned. Your lead front page article from the New York Times and an opinion piece by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post somehow failed to mention past opposition to the "nuclear option" by none other than Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and Hillary Clinton. They were evidently against changing the rules before they were for changing the rules.

Also underreported — and actually not mentioned in either piece — was that three Democrats voted against changing the long-held tradition of the filibuster. I did not see Sens. Joe Manchin. Mark Pryor, nor Carl Levin mentioned as voting with the other party.

I can only guess why this information was "left" out.

Kenn Sidorewich, Oldsmar

Selfish interests

Ezra Klein says, "The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015, and then he will be able to take advantage of the weakened filibuster."

If Klein is right, the Democratic senators have shown that they put the interests of the nation before their own.

Simon Agmann, St. Petersburg

Kudos to Harry Reid

In the history of our nation, there have been 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominees. Half of them have occurred during the Obama administration. That is why I applaud Sen. Harry Reid for taking up the vote to allow a simple majority vote on presidential appointments.

The filibuster has been a constant where it used to be a rarity. Indeed, it should never have been called "the filibuster": It has nothing to do with talking, or holding the floor. It should have been called the 60-vote requirement.

I'm perplexed that Republicans have been so critical of Reid's Senate vote. After all, once they have a majority in the Senate they won't be pestered by Democrats gumming up their agenda. Even conservatives such as Karl Rove and Pat Robertson have called for "an up or down vote on judicial nominees."

Given the dismal public opinion of Congress, this may be the beginning of members actually getting things done and raising their approval ratings back to double digits.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Medical marijuana gets 82% support in new poll Nov. 22

Let's not make pot legal

Whenever the people argue about marijuana, they always claim that it "has never killed anyone," but who's to say it has improved anyone?

Legalization of this drug seems to be a waste of time. This drug is a gateway drug and once a user feels comfortable with it, they may eventually feel as though they are capable of trying something stronger. There are currently many people attempting to try and pass this piece of legislation and quite frankly, it's because they basically want laziness to become legal.

According to WebMD, marijuana usage slows reaction time. By legalizing this, it's inviting more people to drive under the influence and possibly cause car accidents. We hear of people dying in DUI-related car accidents all the time, why bother to add on another drug for people to abuse? One thing that is usually not considered when wanting to legalize marijuana is drug synergy. If this becomes legal and more obtainable, people may mix it with other drugs and even alcohol.

If marijuana use is involved in the death of even one person, I feel as though that's reason enough to not make it legal.

Kendra Salito, Tampa

Alcohol and poor judgment

Toronto mayor Rob Ford is not alone in his indulgence of cocaine.

Self-proclaimed "hip-hop conservative" Rep. Trey Radel now has been charged with possession of cocaine. Both politicians have the same reason for using: Alcohol clouded their good judgment. All these years conservatives proclaimed marijuana could not be considered harmless because it was a "gateway drug," but, it turns out, alcohol is the real gateway drug — or a convenient excuse.

Scott McKown, Palm Harbor

Doctors do less; patients do more Nov. 21 letter to editor

Defining a good doctor

On my first day in medical school, my classmates and I were told that our instructors were about to embark on an impossible task: to teach us everything we needed to know to become physicians in the limited time of medical school, residency and post-residency training.

We were told that if we remembered only one thing about our training that it should be "know your limitations."

Four years later during graduation we took a vow to "do no harm." During my 37 years of practice I have known very few physicians who have not taken this advice and vow to heart.

We are lucky to practice in a state where there are plenty of medical super centers (Tampa General Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Shands, etc.), where challenging patients can be diagnosed and treated. So how do you find a doctor who will know his or her limitations and do you no harm? Ask your friends and neighbors. They will tell you who will sit and listen to you, examine you from head to toe and listen to your questions. Do not ask anyone who may have something to gain. Do not rely on a website, an insurance company, a clinic or medical group, a hospital, a medical society or anyone other than a person who has experienced the care of the physician you may consider. Of course you can make sure the recommended doctor is licensed, but know that an active license is no guarantee of medical expertise and empathy.

When you have chosen a doctor make notes before you go. The Internet is a good resource but do not insult your new doctor by telling him your two hours online trump his 18 years of training and thirty years of practice. When your visit is ending ask questions which should be answered to your satisfaction. Then shake your new doctor's hand and thank him for being what a doctor should be.

Dr. John Kauzlarich, Largo


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18