The power of symbols and myth | June 24, Bill Maxwell column
Rubio should take lead on Cuba
Rather than create a myth, why doesn't Sen. Marco Rubio actually do something material?
Richard Nixon, a dedicated anticommunist, was the one who opened up China during Mao Tse-tung's rule.
Rubio is uniquely positioned to do the same type of thing with Cuba. He could spearhead the movement to normalize relations with Cuba.
After all, U.S. policy has been a complete failure for over 50 years. A sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. The United States is the only country still enforcing the isolation strategy that did nothing to remove Fidel Castro from power.
Rubio would lose some or most of the radical Cuban immigrant vote who represent a small (but vocal) contingent, but would gain voters from the entire spectrum of Floridians. Havana once was Tampa's largest trading partner. Cuba could be a new customer for a broad range of U.S. products and services, plus we'd get the benefit of Cubans visiting Florida.
Jim Hunter, Lutz
Okay, here's why I'm a 26-year-old virgin June 24
We really enjoyed Arleen Spenceley's thoughts about chastity before marriage. Everyone should read them carefully and reflect on the merits of respecting others and ourselves. The values that she describes are important in all of our relationships whether personal or business, and go far beyond the subject of sex.
Spenceley should be commended for providing an approach to prospective marriage partners that will result in happier couples and children amid this culture of selfishness and superficiality.
Raymond Kerker, Largo
I didn't need to know this
Kudos to Arleen Spenceley, the virgin who will, presumably, rightfully don a white wedding gown someday. It's admirable when someone follows her informed conscience, especially amid society's opposition.
However, why am I privy to this? I long for the day when I don't see anyone's sexual preference or exploits in the Sunday paper. I don't have the right or need to know.
A public confession of chastity makes one neither holier nor wiser. Everything in moderation, and that means no sex too. Being hyper-focused on chastity risks impeding the objective of finding a balanced, wholesome partner.
Dianne Skripek, Odessa
I would like add my congratulations to Arleen Spenceley for her courage to share with us her very personal story about her virginity in Sunday's issue. I hope and pray that all the parents and young women who read her article listen to what she is saying and re-examine the choices they have made or will make that will determine their path.
As a 74-year-old father and grandfather, I felt proud of Spenceley for her honesty and sincerity. Our society seems to have lost its moral compass and her article was indeed timely.
Robert W. Goodin, Tampa
Trop to hop with 20,000 at RNC party June 26
I thought the convention and visitors bureau was to help promote our area and encourage visitors. The Republican National Convention has already selected our area. Giving them $600,000 for a party is outrageous.
Len Wilson, St. Petersburg
Protests and public order | June 28, editorial
Stifling free speech
In this editorial the Times appears to advocate for free speech, while at the same time rationalizes how the city of Tampa's stifling of free speech during the upcoming Republican National Convention is a good thing. Of course the Times doesn't label what Tampa is doing as stifling; if it did the Times' two-faced position would be evident.
It is disingenuous to claim that you are for free speech while at the same time condoning limitations on First Amendment activities. According to my copy of the U.S. Constitution, there is no middle ground. If you believe there is middle ground, then you don't believe in "free" speech, so label your beliefs differently.
By saying there is a need to balance the right to protest with public order, a presumption is made that protests lead to violence. In fact, in almost every case it is the states' response to protests that is violent, not the protesters themselves. There is no such thing as balancing free speech and public safety. This is a false argument created by those who want to stifle dissent (but won't admit it) by using exaggerated threats.
During the RNC protesters should be allowed access to any public space they so choose. Permits? A protester's permission comes in the form of the Constitution. In the unlikely event that a demonstrator gets violent, there will be $50 million worth of law enforcement and cameras around to remedy any situation. To pre-emptively put limitations on the people's right to speak is an affront to the Constitution.
Marianne Huber, St. Petersburg
USFSP leader resigns early | June 26
Chancellor set high bar
Margaret Sullivan, chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, is a whirling dervish of talent, persistence, compassion and humor who will be sorely missed by this board member and I daresay all the others, as well as by those in this fine community who have come to know her.
Sullivan has set the bar high for our next chancellor. I wish her Godspeed in her "new adventures." I have great confidence that USF president Judy Genshaft, who brought Sullivan to us, will be able to provide a new chancellor to lead us upward from the lofty levels that Sullivan helped USFSP achieve.
Bob Churuti, USFSP Campus Board, St. Petersburg