Hate the attacks? Blame the PACs | Jan. 27
Put a lid on campaign spending
This country desperately needs election reform. A good start would be to put a cap on the dollar amount a party or campaign can spend. The relentless onslaught of negative campaign ads for the Florida presidential primary is beyond irritating.
Shadowy groups with what seem to be unlimited resources are creating ads that border on character assassination. There is nothing to make them tell the truth or even try to be accurate. It's disgusting.
The general election is going to be nothing less than a horrifying stew of negativity. Why would the best and brightest, potentially the next leaders of this country, want to jump into this meat grinder?
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
Hate the attacks? Blame the PACs | Jan. 27
Despite what ads say,
not much difference
It's amusing to watch the campaigns deny responsibility for the content of the super PAC attack ads. Is anyone fooled by this pretense?
The exchanges between the Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich super PACs have been amazing. The ads try to paint the other candidate as a liberal — which they aren't. Maybe the best ad was the one where Romney morphs into Gov. Rick Scott. It's not a pretty picture.
The truth is, Gingrich and Romney are more alike than their PACs would have us believe. Either will bring back the same greed-driven antics that we had under the Bush regime — tax breaks for the rich while the rest of us slide deeper into despair.
Philipp Michel Reichold, Largo
Texting-driving ban has strong support Jan. 28
Driving a privilege, not right
By the logic of Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, who calls a ban on texting while driving an infringement on liberty, state and local ordinances against videos within view of the driver, stereo headphones on the driver and blaring music in cars are also invasions of privacy.
What, apparently, everyone forgets is that driving is a privilege and not a right. A person's constitutional rights only extend so far as they do not impinge on the rights of others.
If Cannon is really adamant about not outlawing cell phones while driving, he should make the penalty for having an accident while using one meaningful.
John Edwards, Pinellas Park
There have to be limits
I should not be surprised that the Florida Legislature does not follow the wishes of the people. However, to suggest as Dean Cannon does that banning texting while driving would infringe on personal liberty borders on stupidity. I suggest that having speed limits also infringes on my personal liberty to speed. And perhaps there should be no limit to how much alcohol one can consume before driving?
Bottom line: Your Republican leadership will do nothing that infringes on the bottom line of Sprint or Verizon.
Diane Pearson, Dunedin
Just enforce the law
I don't know why a state law is needed to outlaw texting. This problem should be covered by laws that have been on the books for decades. You can get a ticket for driving while encumbered, such as with a cast on your foot or hand unless you have the car equipped to drive that way. The law is there, and many of us violate it.
Morrie Schneider, Valrico
Self-help isn't socialism
Newt Gingrich continues to characterize President Barack Obama as a "Saul Alinsky-style socialist." Saul Alinsky was no socialist. He was a secular Jew who worked closely with Chicago's Catholic clergy (most notably Bishop Bernard Sheil and Father John Egan) during the '50s and '60s to organize powerless urban neighborhoods into self-help communities.
In the process he helped bring to fruition basic Catholic social teachings on work, family, poverty, education and welfare as articulated in papal encyclicals and pastoral letters of American bishops. Today, Catholic parish organizations throughout the nation continue to improve neighborhood living conditions using the Alinsky model.
Newt Gingrich is a recent convert to Catholicism. As he learns more about his church, I hope he will become more aware of Saul Alinsky's considerable contribution to implementing the Catholic social vision.
Richard Linkh, Tarpon Springs
PIP reform plan gains more support Jan. 26
Massage works on pain
House Bill 119 proposes to eliminate massage therapists from performing followup care for auto accident injuries. I am a massage therapist who has treated auto injuries for 12 years. Virtually all injured patients have reported a reduction or elimination of not only their pain but also their need for prescription drugs.
The alternative, according to HB 119, is to report to a hospital emergency room. The real pain comes with the inevitable high hospital bills, not to mention the continued persistent pain in the neck.
I encourage our legislators who support HB 119 to drive carefully so they can stay out of the emergency room.
Carl Ocken, LMT, Dunedin
'Fair shot' for everyone | Jan. 25
Tax laws need changing
Warren Buffett pays a 15 percent tax on money he earns from dividends, as well as from stock sales and other market-based gains. His secretary pays the 35 percent on earned income.
The point Buffett and many other people are making is that if you have vast resources, which 97 percent of us do not, you earn your living through dividends and other market gains that are taxed at less than half the rate paid by people who are actually working.
I have a dozen stocks I earn dividends from, which I pay 15 percent on. That tax rate should be raised, particularly for those who make millions yearly from the market. It is not that people do not understand our tax codes, but that they believe them to be archaic and in need of change.
Chris Elser, Sun City Center