Saturday, April 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Titles are inappropriate but not racist

You can just call me 'sir' | March 3, Bill Maxwell column

Titles inappropriate, not racist

I enjoyed Bill Maxwell's column and agree that the use of the word "sir" — and "ma'am" for that matter — has become elusive, just as "no problem" has replaced "you're welcome" as a response to "thank you."

However, I was disappointed that Maxwell connected the use of the titles "buddy," "chief," "boss" and "boss man" to racism. As a white male, I have been addressed as any and all of those by black and white people alike. I would add "dude," "partner," "pal" and "man" to the list.

If Maxwell would like to be addressed as "sir," I think he's earned it — first, just by being a gentlemen, and certainly as paying customer. But when he ties other greetings specifically to white male uses and racism, the main word that comes to my mind is, simply, "chip."

Fred W. Van Cleave, Brandon

You can just call me 'sir' March 3, Bill Maxwell column

Mind-reading at work?

There must be something in the water over there at the Times. If the respectable columnist Bill Maxwell really thinks he can divine the inner motivations and overall mentality of a complete stranger based on an otherwise irrelevant word choice, then he is just as guilty of perniciously prejudicial thinking as one who judges based on skin color.

What if the person chooses to reserve "sir" out of respect for those who have actually been knighted? What about a million other motivations that he knows nothing about? And is in no way a reputable source for citations. I once added a word there I had made up just for the occasion, and it is still there. No one should cite this website as a scholarly reference.

Brian Kastel, Largo

Meat scandal widens in Europe | Feb. 15

Alternatives to animals

Last week, food safety officials in the United Kingdom, France and Sweden found traces of horse meat in ground beef sold across Europe. Massive recalls and lawsuits are ensuing.

Can it happen here? Horse slaughter for human consumption was banned in the United States between 2007 and 2011. But now, a New Mexico slaughterhouse is getting approved by U.S. authorities to slaughter horses for human consumption, and a Philadelphia restaurant has already announced plans to serve horse meat.

I marvel at our hypocrisy of rejecting the notion of horse or dog meat on our dinner plates, while condemning cows, pigs and chickens to the same fate. Obviously, we have established special relationships with horses and dogs as our companions, protectors and sports protagonists, rather than as food. But where is the ethical and logical distinction, given that all these animals are endowed by individuality, sentience and an ability to experience the same feelings of joy, affection, sadness and fear that we do?

Fortunately, our health food industry has spared us from having to choose which animals to pet and which ones to eat. Their delicious soy and grain-based meat alternatives are available in every supermarket.

Earl Blanchard, Redington Shores

The perils of medical marijuana March 6, letter

Pain and prohibition

No one has the exact same body chemistry. Some people respond well to THC (the active agent in marijuana) for the relief of chronic pain. For many, THC works better than any other agent, including narcotics (which THC is not) and is preferable to narcotics. THC is orders of magnitude less dangerous than narcotics; it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to die from a THC overdose. For those for whom THC works, it could be the drug of choice.

Because the agents that relieve chronic pain can be abused, some would ban them or make them difficult to obtain, rather than deal with the abuse.

Charles Palmer, Lutz

Medicaid helped speaker's family | March 6

Speaker is a hypocrite

I am truly ashamed that Will Weatherford represents my district. How can he be qualified to be House speaker when he isn't qualified to answer questions about a personal tragedy that affected his own family? Weatherford said, "A government that grows too big, becomes too intrusive, and fosters too much dependency will threaten our liberty, our freedom and our prosperity."

Government was there to help his father in a time of need. The family was at liberty to have the needed health care, free to live their lives without a lifelong debt, and were hopefully able to prosper because of it. I'm sick and tired of hearing politicians throw around words like liberty, freedom and prosperity as talking points that either don't belong or are inserted to appeal to a group of people who don't know any better.

If Weatherford isn't a hypocrite, who is? His family was helped by Medicaid; now he wants to deny its expansion. Ask yourself: Whom does he really represent? The federal government will pay 100 percent of its costs for the first three years, and then at least 90 percent thereafter. If your employer offered you that same plan, you would jump at it, even if you weren't sure it would be around forever. So why isn't Weatherford on board?

Jeffrey Hibbert, Wesley Chapel

Adding insult to injury

It is appalling that we have representatives, and I use that word loosely, who actually don't want more of their citizens to have health care. It adds insult to injury to find out that there are those in that group who have actually been beneficiaries of the very program that they want to deny others.

Yvonne M. Osmond, Clearwater

In defense of drones | Feb. 24, Perspective

War shouldn't be easy

Among the many supporters of our use of predatory drones are even a couple of moderate conservatives, David Brooks and George Will, who only desire a critical review of a designated "imminent threat" before the kill is authorized.

In my opposition, I submit that after 11 years of war in which so few of us made any kind of sacrifice, making war even more convenient and distant by the use of drones is not the way to discourage the military and civil mentality that justifies "pre-emptive strikes" and employs euphemisms like "surgical strike" and "collateral damage" to mask and cauterize the ugliest aspect of humanity.

Rodger Lewis, Crawfordville


Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Friday’s letters: Open and shut: Enforce the law

Sheriff’s ICE aid policy blasted | April 10Open and shut: Enforce the lawPeople and institutions that insist on the using the euphemism "undocumented immigrant" do nothing but affirm their lack of objectivity by using such a phrase to support an ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18