In God's name | Oct. 28
Close loopholes for group homes
Did I fall asleep and awake in 1950? Didn't we just read about the horrible treatment of children at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna?
Sexual abuse, beatings, forced extreme exercise, racist name-calling, choking, inedible food — will waterboarding be next?
I urge our Florida legislators and the political candidates to stop their mindless bickering amongst themselves and join together to remove the "legal loopholes" and add tighter guidelines and legislation to prevent this reform school and others like it from operating.
Does Florida never learn?
Anastasia Sultan, Tampa
Protect Florida's children | Oct. 29, editorial
An invitation to trouble
I wonder how the state of Florida would step in to protect these children should Amendment 8 pass. Would Florida's taxpayers be funding these abusive group homes? Are there safeguards in Amendment 8 to prevent taxpayer money from going to religious institutions with a history of failing to report child sexual abuse to law enforcement?
M.A. Russell, South Pasadena
Tourism props up Castro regime Oct. 29, letter
Meddling with our rights
I have had it with Sen. Marco Rubio's tired, Cold War trash talk about the "Castro regime" and the "tyrants in Cuba." This small island nation of 11 million has universal health care, free education, a 99.8 percent literacy rate, and an infant death rate lower than some developed countries.
The parents of this "son of Cuban immigrants" left Cuba during the regime of Fulgencio Batista — remember him? Or have they removed his name from the history books in South Florida? Batista was the corrupt tyrant who gave the Mafia free rein, killed thousands of his own people, and absconded with millions from the Cuban treasury.
We are all sons and daughters of immigrants, and one of our main freedoms under the Constitution is the freedom to travel. I resent this intrusion on my rights by this partisan politician.
Claire McCarthy Lutzmann, Dunedin
Hard-liners hijack freedom
It was disconcerting to read Sen. Marco Rubio's letter stating, "Whether one likes it or not, tourism travel to Cuba remains illegal." Well, I don't like it. I would like to travel to Cuba, but I can't because a few hard-liners in South Florida are hijacking the freedom of 300 million Americans to travel there. And Rubio apparently is speaking for them.
We're not at war with Cuba. The 50-year-old embargo has been a total failure. Moderate Cubans here in the Tampa area are calling for an end of the embargo and restoration of the right to travel there. An American can travel to Vietnam or China.Why not Cuba?
Rubio represents 17 million Floridians, not just a handful of aging, embittered Cuban exiles in Miami. It's time for him to recognize that.
John Polivick, Oldsmar
Demi Lavato did not perform the National Anthem before Game 4 of the World Series; she mutilated it. Any performer who plans to sing our National Anthem should be required to listen to Whitney Houston's magnificent rendition in Tampa, post-Sept. 11, 2001. I am thoroughly disgusted with these so-called superstars "interpreting" our anthem. It's not rock, jazz, hip-hop or soul and should not be treated as such.
Michael P. Catalano, Palm Harbor
Pumping up confusion
I just received a notice that my watering days have changed — again. Getting a different two days doesn't save any water, it just irritates all the residents who now have to reprogram their timers.
Could it be that this is really just a way to issue more tickets and make more money from those who missed the notice?
James Willsie, Palm Harbor
For-fun poker league busted | Oct. 26
Fun must be stamped out
It is good to know that our tax dollars are being spent to remove this lawless scourge. When I look at the hours and expense involved, my only thought is that, because of the efforts of the brave officers and assistant state attorneys relentlessly pursing these lawbreakers, I can sleep a lot more easily at night knowing that this poker league will no longer be able to pursue its illicit agenda of "having fun."
After all, if we do not stop this creeping cancer of criminal activity that is infecting our society, what kind of world will we be leaving our children?
Rich Parker, St. Petersburg
For some parents, fear does not fade Oct. 25, John Romano column
Living between extremes
I, too, am the parent of two sons with significant disabilities, one of whom needs supervision at all times. They are both in their 30s and, while there have been some extremely challenging years, I would never call my life a nightmare that I just needed to endure. And I certainly do not live a life defined by a fear that never ends. Neither do any of the families I know. How can making decisions based on fear help any child, special needs or not?
The difference, I think, is that I chose not to make choices of extremes. The world, for my sons, is not limited to a choice between inclusion or institutionalization, but changes constantly according to their needs and wants. In this search for the perfect meld, we were helped by the Citrus County schools, the wonderful exceptional student education staff and, now, by the Key Training Center. My sons are always as safe as they can be, given their desires for independence; and as happy as they can be, given the restraints the world places on us all.
Stephanie Hopper, Inverness
Crackpots now mainline GOP Oct. 26, commentary
A disgusting silence
I appreciate William Saletan's article about the GOP politicians who think they have the right to tell women what to do with their bodies, particularly if they are raped. I always wonder what these men would do if their daughters, wives, or other female friends or relatives were forced to continue a pregnancy from rape.
It's disgusting to see the Republican nominee Mitt Romney unable or unwilling to counteract the likes of Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, Steve King and Joe Walsh.
Kathlyn Gay, New Port Richey