New filibuster rule tilts Senate balance | Nov. 22
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
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