Obama pre-empts Rubio | June 16
President oversteps his authority
Every newly elected president takes an oath to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Section 3 of Article II of the Constitution says the president is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Congress has the job of passing legislation, which can be signed into law by the president or vetoed.
By issuing an executive order regarding immigrant children brought here by their law-breaking parents through no fault or choice on their part, President Barack Obama has demonstrated that he will only preserve, protect and defend the laws he agrees with and further that he will make law where none existed before — i.e., issuing work permits to an estimated 800,000 illegals.
A year ago he said he had no authority to overturn immigration law on his own. Maybe he consulted with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the Castros of Cuba, who convinced him he can ignore laws he doesn't like and issue orders from the Oval Office disguised as policy decisions.
No matter where one stands on immigration, all Americans should be concerned about Obama's disregard for the Constitution and separation of powers.
Sharon Lam, Hudson
Obama pre-empts Rubio | June 16
Obama's political ploy
President Barack Obama apparently believes that the "sermon of compassion" he delivered when he announced his executive order regarding the children of illegal immigrants will effectively disguise an otherwise blatant political sleight of hand from the American electorate until November. With a straight face, he characterized his decision as "not immunity, not amnesty, and not a path to citizenship." Sure.
Most thinking Americans are ambivalent about the plight of children who are brought here illegally by their parents at a young age. While obtaining a high school and/or college education at public expense should not automatically protect these children from existing immigration rules, most all should agree that those children who thereafter serve in the military should be exempt from subsequent deportation.
The real problem is that Obama has usurped the authority of a divided Congress for purely political gain. I only wish Mitt Romney had been as direct in his response. He should stress that Congress will take action upon current immigration issues when we have a president who will lead — not one who files lawsuits against states that attempt to solve their local problems in the absence of federal action, or one who expresses feigned "compassion" in an effort to solidify his political base.
Robert Heyman, St. Petersburg
What Republicans think June 17, commentary
European success story
In his column, David Brooks notes that Republicans look at the financial crisis in Europe and see it as a prelude to what is likely to happen in the United States unless we shift more control of the economy to corporations and big business. Republicans caution that we will go the way of Greece, Spain and Italy unless we significantly cut programs in areas such as education and health care.
But what about Germany? The unemployment rate in Germany is only 5.4 percent and they are the fourth largest economy in the world. Yet the Germans spend substantially more on social programs (25.2 percent of GDP) than the United States (16.2 percent). Most universities in Germany offer free tuition and the Germans have universal health care. As the largest economy in the world, one has to wonder why we can't expand educational opportunities and health care coverage to a level that is at least comparable to the Germans.
Jeff Grabel, Brandon
Unlicensed activity on rise | June 17
Check for permits
In addition to the rising number of unlicensed contractors not pulling permits, keep in mind the growing number of "licensed" contractors who are choosing not to pull permits due to their rising costs. I believe this is going to continue as long as the individual jurisdictions' reaction to the lower number of permits being pulled is to raise the prices. Homeowners beware: Permits are a hassle, they cost you money, but they are designed to protect you.
I believe there should be a bounty put on contractors who are not pulling permits. Legitimate contractors and homeowners could be rewarded for turning in those who profit from doing unpermitted work by splitting a large fine that could be levied against the perpetrators.
Lastly, I would ask everyone to support your local contractors who go to the trouble of doing the right thing by going to school, getting licensed, paying for liability insurance and pulling permits.
David Venier, Seminole
Charter's closure exposes weaknesses June 17
Public education is key
In an era of reduced education budgets, declining teacher pay and a state government that trumpets reduced government spending, the Florida Department of Education last year unveiled a $30 million fund to help subsidize the creation of new charter schools.
Why should taxpayers stand by and watch as Florida Republicans destroy public education, one of the cornerstones of our democracy? Is this what the Founders had in mind?
Karen Knop, St. Pete Beach
Evolving views of creation | June 16
How discouraging it was to see your chart showing under 20 percent of Americans believe in evolution without help of a god. Americans need to get over their ancient superstitions and realize that humans are the dominant animal species because of the primary evolutionary benefit of being bipedal, giving us the greatest warrior abilities in all the animal kingdom.
It's been said that without religion the world would be at least a thousand years more advanced. Our schools have really failed teaching science and thinking skills because of the influence of organized religion.
Francis Prahl, St. Petersburg