High court: Lawmakers must testify in redistricting case | Dec. 14
Truth test for Florida legislators
It took the Florida Supreme Court to force our elected officials to answers questions truthfully. At least we hope that is what they will do.
As it stands now, any citizen may ask a legislator a question and that legislator, or his or her aide, may avoid the answer, obfuscate or just plain lie with no thought to the consequences. Now with this decision, these "servants of the people" will be forced to answer truthfully or suffer more than just exposure on the Truth-O-Meter.
I can understand the need for occasionally keeping some actions of the Legislature out of the public view for a time. Labor negotiations, contract bid discussions and tort defense strategies are a few situations where immediate and complete disclosure of facts could be detrimental. However, in all but the rarest of cases, these elected officials should have their every word regarding the business of representing us, the voters, open and published.
That is not as hard as it may appear. In this age of Twitter, Instagram and the like, the recordings of their discussions in every arena could be made available digitally over the Internet. The printed transcripts of these proceedings could also be made available in a searchable format within days of the adjournment of a meeting.
These transcripts are being done anyway, albeit highly edited and redacted, for release under public records requirements. I have seen it done on a smaller scale for media releases from law enforcement agencies.
Put our representatives on the spot and in the light and post their words as they say them. Let's make sure what they tell us at election time is what they said in their hallowed chambers. If they are honest and if they are representing us, that should not be a problem for any of them.
John H. Stansbury, Brooksville
'You can keep it' | Dec. 13, PolitiFact
From truth to lie
Seems to me you folks forgot that in 2008, your precision Truth-O-Meter rated Barack Obama's claim true ("if you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it"). Now you find out it's false, but you remain steadfast in this administration's cheerleader box.
Frank Rzeszut, Altamonte Springs
I can only assume that the PolitiFact Lie of the Year was chosen by people who don't care for our president and enjoyed the chance to slam him on the Affordable Care Act.
It's ridiculous to think that his assessment of insurance companies' policies, wrong as it may have been in the end, was a deliberate lie. He had no reason to lie and the law was passed with good intentions. However, lying in the Oval Office does happen — look at the last officeholder, who lied us into a war.
Farah Stokes, Tampa
The royal 'we'
Why all the fuss over a single word? President Barack Obama merely meant to say, "If we like your health care plan, you can keep it." Washington, after all, always knows best.
Tom Lange, St. Pete Beach
Had there been less media bias and more accurate reporting during the last presidential campaign, it's possible there would be a competent businessman in the White House and our economic and health care issues would be better managed and moving toward reasonable resolutions.
Sharon Smith, Ocala
Holding up health care | Dec. 15, editorial
Stuck in the past
Kudos to the Times for piercing the cravenness underlying opposition to Medicaid expansion. Ignorance of health care and shortsighted political opportunism may explain Will Weatherford's stance, but Rick Scott's laryngeal paralysis likely derives from the latter's informed conclusion that the Affordable Care Act will succeed.
Weatherford, like so many Republican legislators, has a pre-1965 view of health care, a vision that is as likely to be restored as the Edsel from that era. They are wishing for ACA failure so fiercely that they are blind to how instrumental their opposition has been in shifting attention away from some fundamental defects toward superficial startup kerfuffles.
The ACA has become today's Kansas-Nebraska Act, which was the 1854 death knell of the Whigs and birth of Republicans.
Pat Byrne, Largo
Act on climate change
The effects of Hurricane Sandy on the Atlantic Coast are still being felt one year later, and many communities have yet to recover.
Many scientists predict frequent extreme weather events like Sandy are increasing in frequency and volatility. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the debate is over. Action is a necessity. President Barack Obama has presented a National Climate Plan to Congress. There is much resistance in Congress in spite of overwhelming public support for change.
Reclaim the Earth from carbon pollution. Contact your legislators on this issue. Make Tampa a national proving ground for ecological wisdom and knowledge and storm research.
Ask your educators for information on environmentally protective lighting, window insulation, wind generators, electric vehicles and hydrogen conversion.
Patrick A. O'Dougherty, Tampa
You drink too much, Mr. Bond | Dec. 14
Shake it up
In this article, researchers of the British Medical Journal proclaim that ideally, martinis should be stirred and not shaken. I might not have consumed as many martinis as these researchers or James Bond, but I will say that my research shows the opposite is true.
A well-shaken martini poured into a frozen martini glass is absolutely the best cocktail on the planet. The broken shards of ice dilute the martini just enough to allow you to have a second. Want proof? Come to my house during cocktail hour. Just arrange for a designated driver.
Eric Ludin, St. Petersburg