Missouri senator pushes contraceptive politics | March 1
Voting against women's rights
It seems apparent that women in my community are represented by two men who are obviously antiwomen.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis voted against women in the Ledbetter amendment giving women equal pay for equal work. Then Marco Rubio supported an amendment (defeated on Thursday) to keep women from having full health care. According to this amendment, if I worked for a Christian Science CEO, I could only go to a Christian Science reading room for my health care. If I worked for a Jehovah's Witness CEO, I couldn't have a blood transfusion.
This amendment is so far-reaching that it isn't about religious freedom, it's about religious doctrine controlling those who do not believe in that religion. That is limiting religious freedom.
Georgie Bowser, New Port Richey
Religion should be private
Amendments to the Affordable Care Act backed by Republicans mean that if you work for wages, you get the treatments "the provider" — meaning your boss — decides are morally right for you.
From job creator to moral guide, it's just another step in making the wealthy the barons and the wage-earners the serfs. Owners will decide which treatments your policy will pay for, and by extension which hospitals you can or can't use based on treatments provided there.
Besides objecting to birth control pills, owners may object to distribution of condoms, vaccinations, blood transfusions, antipsychotic drugs, prescription drug plans, insulin, and the list goes on.
This is why the Founding Fathers sought to keep religion a private affair, not a matter for politicians.
Mike Flanery, Clearwater
Missouri senator pushes contraceptive politics | March 1
Economy is the issue
It is unbelievable that contraceptives are an issue in this election cycle, but President Barack Obama has made this the topic of conversation because he who controls the language controls the debate. Requiring religious institutions to add contraceptives to their insurance policies against their core principles is an affront to the separation of church and state. And requiring insurance companies to supply for free a product without thinking that the cost would not be passed on is an affront to the free-market system.
That being said, it is the economy, overspending and a bloated federal government that are the issues that most effect our nation today. Republicans need to stay on message. However, if there is a pill that keeps the federal government from multiplying, by all means pass them out for free and let's force the Congress and president to swallow them as well.
Sandy Graves, Land O'Lakes
Israel leader's U.S. visit to address rift over Iran | March 1
No time to back down
The United States continues to pressure Israel to use restraint in the matter of attacking Iran. Does the administration not understand that Iran will use no restraint when it decides to attack Israel?
Israel has never backed down from a foreign threat, and now is not the time to do so when facing a very dangerous enemy like Iran. Israel must protect its people and its sovereignty before it is too late. Israel must strike first and strike hard to eliminate an evil demon. To do otherwise could be disastrous for the nation of Israel.
Bob Fortney, Land O'Lakes
Mayors team up at Rays summit | Feb. 22
In defense of the Trop
My family and I love the Rays. I am grateful to Stuart Sternberg for turning around the franchise. And I talk to a lot of thoughtful people who would love a new stadium — if it didn't cost anything.
However, given the unmet medical, educational, nutritional and other needs of our community, it is morally inconceivable to spend $400 million-plus on a baseball stadium.
The good news is that we already have an outstanding venue for baseball. Let's celebrate the Trop! The temperature is always nice and the dome, scaffolding, lighting, etc., give us an undeniable home-field advantage. If marketed positively by ownership, I believe the Trop could turn into a happening spot. People are much more likely to attend a place if it's marketed as an advantageous home for its team.
Jim Cohen, St. Petersburg
Baseballer Maseda dies at 92 | Feb. 26
A life of honor
A golden link in the chain that binds our city's colorful history was sadly broken recently when Tampa lost one of its jewels, Marcelo Maseda. He was a lifelong friend who had an enormous impact on many people who grew up in this city.
Aside from his highly celebrated and ceremonial role as mayor of Ybor City, Mr. Maseda never held public office. However, many politicians sought his counsel and support.
His outgoing and gregarious demeanor allowed him the opportunity to lead his life, as well as guide the many associated with him, with honor and distinction. His distinguished look of a white hat, guadavera shirt and signature Arturo Fuente cigar is reminiscent of a bygone era of our city's illustrious past.
A fitting farewell to Tampa Bay's own Marcelo Maseda can be taken from the famous Frank Sinatra song: Marcelo, you did it your way!
Mike Merino, Tampa
Will $4-plus gas derail recovery? | March 1
Stop the speculators
The ongoing rise in the cost of fuel at the pumps is caused by many factors. One is greedy Wall Street speculators who deal in oil. Eliminating this layer of cost would help keep the prices in check.
Perhaps oil should be considered an essential commodity and have the Energy Department take the place of the speculator. The department could buy the oil from the oil-producing countries and then resell it with no markup to those American oil companies who are now at the mercy of the speculators.
David Foote, Dunedin
Reform of PIP stalls in Senate | Feb. 29
Early April Fool's?
"Heavy lobbying by massage therapists temporarily derailed one of the major issues of the legislative session …" Is that a joke? Somebody must have Leap Day mixed up with April Fool's day.
Ed Cadden, St. Petersburg