A model Constitution no more | Feb. 12
U.S. Constitution still up to date
Adam Lipak tells us that our stodgy old Constitution is no longer a model for the rest of the world. He explains that recent studies show our Constitution is parsimonious in granting rights by international standards, citing specifically the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms along with the European Convention on Human Rights.
However, a cursory review of both these documents reveals that they guarantee essentially the same rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. These documents were drafted in their present form late in the 20th century. The U.S. Constitution was drafted 200 years earlier. Most of the rights in the Canadian and European constitutional documents were specifically addressed in our Bill of Rights — the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Others, like the right to vote regardless of sex or race, were added during 200 years of evolution through a rigorous amendment process.
Congratulations, the Canadians and Europeans have finally caught up. The big difference is that the Canadian and European documents contain language that allows a strong central government to ignore these rights under liberally or ambiguously defined circumstances. The U.S. Constitution with its clearly defined, enumerated powers for limited federal government prevents this from happening. This is a source of great frustration for progressives of every stripe, including Teddy Roosevelt Republicans, liberal Democrats, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Barack Obama and the editorial board of the Tampa Bay Times, all of whom long to use the power of the federal government to advance their progressive agenda whether the people agree or not.
T.S. "Mac" McDonnell, St. Petersburg
A model Constitution no more | Feb. 12
It's their loss
This article is yet another example of socialists and one-world government advocates trying to tear down the greatest country and greatest form of government that has ever existed. If other countries don't want to model their constitutions after ours, that's their loss; it's no reason to change ours to their liking.
Our Founding Fathers were all very learned, patriotic men who had studied virtually everything written about prior governments and civilizations, as well as philosophers' views on the nature of man. They combined all this knowledge with their own experiences to create a governing document that applies to all men for all time. It recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of the human character and provides checks and balances to prevent excesses of power. It is difficult to amend for the same reasons.
David and Mary Buha, St. Petersburg
The author asserts that our founding document is "terse and old" and no longer a model for the rest of the world as it "guarantees relatively few rights." He completely misunderstands our Constitution. It doesn't grant or "guarantee" us rights. It prevents the government from "infringing" upon rights with which we were born.
It is marvelous in its simplicity, four pages and the Bill of Rights one. Intentionally hard to amend, it prevents each new administration from wholesale changes. Imagine if the Founding Fathers had word processors; it might resemble the 2,000-plus-page health care bill that no one completely understands.
Jim Blanco, Tampa
There is the secular and the religious Feb. 12, Robyn Blumner column
Robyn Blumner's article provided a very fair and balanced view of the Catholic Church's opposition to certain provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act.
It was interesting to learn that even before the Affordable Health Care act became law, 28 states had already required contraception to be included in health insurers' prescription drug coverage. So the Affordable Care Act's position on contraceptives is not the unprecedented position church leaders often claim.
Catholic Bishops continue to obsess over the use of contraceptives by non-Catholic employees of its hospitals and nonchurch institutions while looking the other way at the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to millions of Americans.
As Blumner pointed out, an estimated 45,000 people die each year from lack of health insurance, and Obama's health reforms will extend health insurance to 32 million people who are currently uninsured.
Isn't it time the Catholic Church obsessed a bit over supporting the Affordable Care Act and helping it prosper and benefit all those needful people living in such dire straits?
Merrill P. Friend, Tampa
USF: Budget cut unfair | Feb. 15
Hardball politics is one thing, but state Sen. JD Alexander's assault on the state universities of Florida, with special vindictive treatment reserved for USF, is more like taking an AK-47 to the mound and pointing it at the batter's head.
The damage this would do to Florida, the Tampa Bay area and USF is obvious, not only in its effects on education and the economy but in its effects on quality of life and the perception of Florida as a forward-looking, enlightened place where one might want to live, invest, teach, study or raise a family.
Clearly, being a senator is now viewed by some as self-service, not public service.
Silvio Gaggi, Tampa
Group protests school visits by Muslims Feb. 15
Nothing to fear
Are these protesters unable to see the parallels between their attitudes and those of the radicals of other faiths? What are they afraid of?
It seems to me that the only sensible course is to educate everyone about each faith. Unfortunately, the polarizing views and the scare tactics of the presidential candidates continue to appeal to the gullible.
Sue E. Conrad, North Redington Beach