Senate's vote: Drive 75 | April 25
Driving safety, not speed, is key
Having lived in Germany for many years, the issue of increasing the speed limit in Florida is irrelevant in comparison to the importance of safe driving.
Statistically, there are fewer casualties with no speed limits in Germany than in Florida, mainly due to drivers' habits and compliance with basic safety rules. In Germany and Europe, it's a big no-no to drive on the left side unless passing. Using the phone for any reason is against the law while driving. Passing on the right will earn you a hefty fine.
Florida can increase the speed limit, but ignorant, reckless drivers can cause accidents even at 10 mph.
Z. Shebaro, Tampa
In the recent article on the debate to raise the state speed limit to 75 mph, I was struck by the fact that no mention was made of the potential impact this bill would have on the environment.
Co-sponsor Jeff Clemons claims the bill "allows DOT to set the speed limit based on engineering and science," but science shows that raising the limit to 75 would increase both fuel consumption and total vehicle emissions.
Given rising fuel prices and increasing concerns over climate change, it's troubling that our Legislature has failed to address these aspects of the issue.
Greg Comnes, Tampa
Clippers feel fallout | April 29
Irony and outrage
The furor over L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is particularly troubling, as well as ironic. He was recorded making racist comments, yet it is clear that as owner of an NBA team, he makes his money from the amazing gifts of the players, including star African-Americans. One would think that a very rich man would realize this, but some things never change.
The irony of the incident is that Sterling's original name was Donald Tokowitz; he was the son of Jewish parents. As a very small minority, with thousands of years of being the target of deadly racism and discrimination, Jews are typically sensitive to matters of bigotry. However, some people have disconnected themselves from their roots. Or, in this case, the very wealthy are ego-driven to the point that they have lost contact with the sufferings of other people.
Michael S. Greenberg, Clearwater
Rubio defends gun owners | April 26
Government's job: defense
If he has been quoted correctly, Sen. Marco Rubio has some ideas that belong in a trash bin.
He was addressing the National Rifle Association last week when he talked about the American Dream as something not just about having money, but as the ability to raise a family in a home that is stable, safe and secure.
He added that safety means having a firearm for self-protection. He was quoted as saying, "The safety of our families is not something people should hope government can provide." I thought that one of the main purposes of government is to keep people safe and secure in their homes. Some might even say that is the main reason for government.
Isn't that why we have police, firefighters, a Defense Department, an FBI?
Is Rubio suggesting we abandon all these safety features and instead arm ourselves to defend ourselves, our homes and our families? I find his ideas about self-protection possibly worthy of the myths of the Wild West, but not of our country as it is today.
Barbara M. Rowell, St. Petersburg
Undying affection for a dying sport | April 27
I enjoyed this bittersweet article on dog racing. It is true the times are changing. Institutions like Derby Lane and Tampa Bay Downs find themselves fighting an aging populace but, worse than that, an apathetic Legislature.
As dog racing and horse racing struggle to gain new fans, the one thing gaining momentum, the tracks' poker rooms, are met with regulations and restrictions that other gaming venues are not. How is it fair that these historic and time-honored racetracks are not given the same consideration as other nearby casinos?
And something your excellent article touched on but is usually missed: These facilities offer something baseball, football, hockey and many other area attractions don't, and that is affordable entertainment. With next to no admission fees, free parking and affordable concession prices, these long-established businesses are the last remaining entertainment options for many seniors and those of little means.
James Harvey, New Port Richey
Microbreweries not convinced | April 27
If you think that Florida Senate Bill 1714 affects only the craft brewing industry, think again. This bill opens the door to big businesses forcing every small business in Florida to pay them for the right to work.
David Gray, Tampa
Unsure about science | April 27
The question of 'why'
No matter how positive scientists and other intellectuals are about the origin of the universe and man, science will never be able to answer the question of "why."
Even if one were to be convinced of the scientific conclusions of how the universe came into being, it doesn't answer that question and it certainly doesn't give one hope for the future.
I believe the great majority of people, whether educated or not, would rather put their faith in something that offers hope than in science, which literally offers nothing.
Fred Ragsdale, St. Petersburg
Shortfall in sciences
Data from the Associated Press poll indicating that 42 percent of Americans do not believe in evolution and 36 percent (likely a subset of the 42 percent) don't accept the fact that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old does not speak well for our educational system — particularly in the sciences.
Perhaps equally to blame, however, is the pervasiveness of religion and its mythology (e.g., Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, etc.) that is absent in countries with more advanced cultures.
Bob Lindskog, Palm Harbor