Circumcise babies? Docs shift stance | Aug. 27
Procedure amounts to mutilation
I read, with a great deal of disgust, the article on routine circumcision of newborn boys and that doctors are shifting their stance back to this barbaric process.
Their logic is that it prevents penile cancer and urinary tract infections. These are both very rare conditions.
Circumcision for no reason is mutilation, pure and simple. If we did the analogous procedure to little girls, there would be a public outcry.
If men prefer to be circumcised for nonmedical or aesthetic reasons, they have that right, but it should not be done without informed consent. A newborn cannot give consent for a procedure that is unnecessary.
The foreskin is a natural part of the anatomy. It is not a mistake that needs to be removed without some medical need.
If we follow the argument that we do it to prevent cancer and other diseases, then we should embrace following concept: Since nearly 13 percent of all women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives, we should remove breasts at birth to prevent this disease from occurring.
Is that a ridiculous argument? Of course. But no more ridiculous than the routine mutilation of newborn boys.
The physicians are lobbying to have insurance pay for the procedure. Is there some self-interest for the doctors showing here?
Jerold Crawford, Tampa
Mitt's promise | Aug. 31
Tail wagging the dog
The Times continues to ask who the real Mitt Romney is. His acceptance speech at the RNC did little to shed any light on this. Looking back at Romney's past views, he has been pro-choice, for gay rights, a "moderate, progressive, nonpartisan independent," in favor of stem cell research, a proponent of bringing down health care costs as the way to save Medicare, and a proponent of health care for all (Romneycare).
Unfortunately, this Mitt Romney could not possibly win the GOP nomination.
Romney has had to compromise his own beliefs to win the nomination. It shows in his face and his actions. There is no wonder why people are uncomfortable and feel they still do not know this man.
Paul Ryan was selected as the vice presidential choice to fire up the tea party. As reported by the Times, "their love for Ryan was the most electric part of the convention." Romney is now tied to the extreme-right views of Ryan. The tail is wagging the dog.
It is unfortunate that Romney cannot run on the moderate views that most Americans share. The real Mitt Romney has been lost in the political process. His statement of why he should be elected — because he is not Barack Obama — says it all.
Cheryl Colvin, Odessa
In reading the Times this morning, I noticed a continuing theme — lack of specificity in the plans for our nation from Mitt Romney. It was in editorials, letters, political cartoons and (supposed) news items.
I thought back to a candidate whose specifics were "hope and change" and who has governed on class warfare, racial division, dependency and such specifics as "fairness."
I can't help but wonder when (if ever) that candidate's "specificity" will be examined by the Times.
Ray Kelly, Spring Hill
I found little to agree with in Mitt Romney's vague acceptance speech. However, his smarmy comment regarding ocean rise seemed particularly obnoxious and smacked of the anti-science attitude that apparently is front and center in Republican thinking.
A quick read of the newspapers would have informed Romney that major changes in climate are occurring as he spoke. Arctic sea ice, the icy blanket that covers the Arctic Ocean, retreated to a record summertime minimum. The surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet suffered an unusual melt event that extended from the coastal margins of the ice sheet to its very highest reaches.
Romney might be interested to know that when Greenland ice melts, water goes into the ocean and ocean levels rise. He might even be able to deduce that ice is melting because it is getting warm! Of course I recognize that it is one thing to make observations about climate and quite another to make policy decisions in view of those observations. Still, it would have been reassuring had Romney made clear that there are tradeoffs to be understood.
In my view, presidential leadership stems best from people with informed, broad and bold vision. Romney is focused on the economy — that is all to the good — but it is simply not enough to merit election as president.
Kenneth Jezek, Tierra Verde
Having attended three national political conventions over the years, I had an opportunity to see how they were covered by the local newspapers. Without a doubt, kudos go to the Tampa Bay Times for your top-notch reporting of the GOP convention in Tampa.
Your even-handed, in words and photos, coverage of the event and all the related stories proves, once again, how valuable you are to the Tampa Bay area.
Robert Schultz, St. Petersburg
Leers and sneers
Your coverage of the Republican convention was mostly restrained and factual. However, Friday's issue finally gave you a chance to put everything that was done and said in the poorest possible light. It was a perfect example of the old English expression, "Damn with faint praise, agree with civil leer, and without sneering, teach the rest to sneer."
Robert A. Stanton, Seminole
Fuel rules increased to 54.5 mpg | Aug. 29
Use carbon tax instead
Government-mandated fuel economy standards are wrongheaded. With cars that get 50 mpg there is no incentive to drive fewer miles — quite the contrary.
Instead, we should employ a carbon tax of, say, 25 cents to 50 cents per gallon on gasoline (and an equivalent on other carbon sources such as coal). This would not only help reduce greenhouse gases and pay down our debt, it would also provide a market incentive to live closer to work, carpool, develop alternate fuels and use more efficient cars.
Michael Green, St. Petersburg