Senders of Islam movie tied to Jewish charity | Sept. 26, story
Take Islamic terrorism seriously When it comes to the threat of Islamic terrorism, the St. Petersburg Times is remarkably predictable: always question the messenger, always ignore the message.
Some 18 months ago, St. Petersburg was host to a national intelligence/security conference dealing with the challenges faced by America and other Western nations from radical Islamic organizations — a conference that was given national coverage by the Wall Street Journal and CNN. The Times devoted two pages to poring over the tax registration of the sponsors. Not a word was printed about the sober warnings from the expert presentations at the conference.
So, on Friday, the Times devotes another "investigative report" to trying to identify who is publicizing Obsession, a dramatic presentation of the face of radical Islam. The Times devotes one paragraph to the film's message: The film, the Times tells us, shows "men in traditional Middle Eastern dress" burning an American flag, it shows "the planes flying into the twin towers." And, the Times tells us, "the film has been unfairly criticized as portraying the religion as violent".
So much for the message. This, in a month when German commandos stormed a plane to remove two ethnic Somalis to thwart a terrorist plot, a British jury convicted a group of Muslims of conspiring to commit terrorist acts, and a judge in Canada upheld the government's actions in identifying a group of Muslim conspirators as potential terrorists.
It is time for your paper to take the issue of Islamic terrorism seriously — and stop demonizing those who attempt to do so.
Barry Augenbraun, St. Petersburg
Who cares who funded the Obsession DVD, as long as it is factual? It is the free speech right of the Clarion Fund, the Jewish community or anyone else to speak the truth as they see it.
The Council on American Islamic Relations should take note the DVD's title included "radical" Islam. That's why we have adjectives in our language, to make a distinction.
What hypocrisy that CAIR would say the Clarion Fund is trying to influence the election. Barack Obama thinks you can sit down and "talk" with a man who thinks the Holocaust never happened and has stated Israel should be wiped from the map. Why wouldn't Israel or the Jewish community see the folly of this attitude?
CAIR should be as alarmed as anyone else about radical Islam. It appears they want to conquer all the non-Muslims first, then start on what they consider to be the pseudo-Muslims who don't have long beards or burqas. These people are obsessed.
Claude Hensley, Clearwater
Under anonymity, gun licenses soar | Sept. 22, story
Don't fear permit holders
Florida issued 1,383,676 concealed weapon permits to qualified applicants for self-defense from October 1987 to August 2008. Of those, 520,443 are active but only 165 active permits have been revoked since October 1987 due to the use of a firearm in a crime .
Effective July 1, 2006, permit holders' personal information was exempted from release to the public except for official government purposes or with a permit holder's prior approval.
This happened after an Orlando reporter obtained a list of local prominent permit holders via the Freedom of Information Act and then published their names, exposing those persons as well as those not listed to possible criminal attack.
Qualified permit holders do not "pack heat" but legally carry concealed weapons according to Florida law. Don't forget, when seconds count, the police will be there in minutes! Fear the criminal, not the good citizen with a concealed permit!
Norm Belson, major, U.S. Army, retired, Clearwater
Under anonymity, gun licenses soar | Sept. 22, story
"People are beginning to understand what they can do with that gun," said Arthur Hayhoe, president of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a longtime opponent of the state's gun laws. "My advice is don't trifle with Floridians."
Thank you, sir, that is the exact message we are trying to generate. People who contemplate committing a violent crime now must think again because the victim could be armed also and respond to prevent the criminal act.
Dennis P. Condon, Palm Harbor
The Pinellas County school district has ratified a three-year contract with the new superintendent, Dr. Julie Janssen. Since school began this August, the word "contract" has changed its meaning for me and many of my colleagues, the middle school teachers of Pinellas County.
The district has a contract with us specifying that we teach 5 of 6 periods or 5 of 7 periods. The school district has forced middle school teachers to teach 6 of 7 periods this school year. At this point, I have no reason to think the situation will change to be in accordance with our contract.
I write this letter because I want the parents and voters of Pinellas County to know how the Pinellas school district treats a contract.
Joy E. Lowell, New Port Richey
Her mother gone, girl fights for life | Sept. 24
Reading the story about little Summer Moll being severely injured by a drunken driver, I can't help but wonder why a confiscation law isn't enacted. If a driver of a land, sea or air vehicle is proven to be guilty of a DUI, said vehicle will be forfeited and sold free and clear of any lien or claims, regardless of ownership.
One would think twice before taking a chance of driving after a few drinks. If an individual had a tendency to drink or had a previous DUI record, could that individual borrow your car, rent a car, finance a car, get a car insured? I don't think so. I think DUIs would become a rarity, and families wouldn't have to go through the unimaginably terrible trauma Summer's family is now going through.
Robert Buchanan, New Port Richey
Hospice needs help
LifePath Hospice is committed to caring for all those in our communities facing the challenges of life-limiting illnesses. Patients and families receiving hospice care routinely report that they are both grateful for and satisfied with the care. Beyond that, hospice care provides a cost savings for Medicare. A recent Dartmouth study found that hospice patients receiving end-of-life care save Medicare approximately $2,300 per patient.
The care LifePath Hospice provides is at risk. Medicare is proposing cuts that will go into effect Oct. 1. If these proposed cuts take place, hospices nationwide will see a $5-billion reduction in Medicare funding over the next three years. For LifePath Hospice, that breaks down to $4.6-million. These cuts will affect our ability to care for people at a very vulnerable time.
LifePath Hospice is hopeful that these cuts will not take place. Both houses of Congress have pending legislation that will place a one-year moratorium on reducing payments to hospice providers. We encourage residents to contact their federal representatives and voice their support of the Medicare Hospice Protection Act of 2008. (Senate Bill 3483 and House Bill 6873.)
With our community's help and support, LifePath Hospice can continue to provide exceptional hospice care in Hillsborough County.
Cheryl Hamilton, executive director, LifePath Hospice, Tampa
Peace Corps in crisis | Sept. 19, editorial
A positive influence
The editorial lamenting that our Peace Corps is in crisis should be taken seriously.
In 1983 I was privileged to be a Fulbright Fellow in Ethiopia. Our group was invited to celebrate the 82nd birthday of the emperor who earned his place in history with the warning, "Today it's Ethiopia; tomorrow it will be you." This was in reference to the invasion of Ethiopia by Benito Mussolini.
I had the opportunity to have an audience with the emperor. I asked him, "What can the United States do to help Ethiopia?"
Without hesitation, he responded, "Send more Peace Corps."
Norman N. Gross, Palm Harbor
Outside opportunities | Sept. 21, Floridian story
What a nice way to start a Sunday — an upbeat, positive article by Jeff Klinkenberg!
We need more people like Vince Denimarck who can deal with adversity, not be afraid to try something new and make the most of any opportunity. A joy to read.
Renee G. Salzer, Seminole