No budget deal in sight | Sept. 30
Reject government by extortion
For the past four years, the Republican Party and its extremist tea party allies have repeatedly shown themselves ready and, in fact, eager to lie about the Affordable Care Act. These unscrupulous ideologues have lied about "a government takeover," "death panels," "rationed care," "forced contraception," "forced vaccinations," and every other hobby horse they could imagine. All this was in an effort to confuse and frighten the American public.
Now, with their lies about to be exposed by the act's implementation, they have stooped to simple extortion. Like kidnappers who "negotiate" by holding a gun to their victim's head, the GOP representatives in the House have decided that unless they get their way, they will force the shutdown of a large part of the government. Worse yet, if the Democrats still haven't given in, these extremists are threatening to force the United States into defaulting on its legal obligations.
It is incumbent on every voter to understand these issues and to remember them at the next election. Before then, when default causes huge slides in the stock markets, everyone who is, or hopes to be retired should send a great big "thanks a lot" to their tea party neighbors.
Gregg Niemi, Tampa
Don't silence voice of utility customers Sept. 29, editorial
Deal benefits consumers
The Public Service Commission did, in fact, conduct an exhaustive process that included more than 350,000 pages of documents, nine customer hearings around the state and weeks of technical hearings with testimony from expert witnesses.
Organizations representing customers who consume nearly half of the power we produce — including military bases, hospitals, manufacturers and other entities that employ hundreds of thousands of Floridians — came together on a thoughtful compromise. However, despite my repeated invitations, the public counsel refused to come to the table and instead chose to promote extreme positions.
Fortunately, after extending the hearing, the commission approved a four-year rate agreement — an important win for all Florida Power & Light customers.
The agreement is a step forward, helping ensure we can continue delivering reliability and award-winning customer service at affordable rates. It maintains our ability to invest billions of dollars in critical infrastructure improvements to help us better serve customers and support our state's economic rebound.
We're accelerating our storm-hardening efforts — strengthening lines and incorporating lessons from Superstorm Sandy to better protect substations from flooding. We're modernizing power plants, making our fleet even cleaner and more fuel-efficient by using U.S.-produced natural gas.
Today, FPL customers pay less for electricity than they did in 2006. This is no accident. It took planning and smart investing. That's why our customers continue to receive cleaner, more reliable electricity for a typical bill that's the lowest in Florida and about 25 percent less than the national average.
Eric Silagy, president, Florida Power & Light Co., Juno Beach
Try national disaster fund | Sept. 26, letter
A workable approach
I like the letter writer's ideas about creating a national disaster insurance fund to lower costs. I'll bet this might work for other things, perhaps health care.
Maybe we could call it something like Single Payer Health Care Plan.
John Richter, Tampa
Insurance for all? Hardly | Sept. 29
Hold them to account
The Florida Legislature turned down federal money to expand Medicaid. It would have cost Florida and Floridians nothing to provide health care for these million people. It would have been good for the economy and made for a healthier workforce. It would have brought down health costs by keeping people out of emergency rooms.
The names of the people in the Legislature who voted against Medicaid expansion need to be printed in the paper so they can be targeted. They need to be removed. They obviously don't care if they bring down our economy with their blind hatred and bigotry for the president of the United States.
Marlin Moore, St. Petersburg
'Revenge porn' scourge Sept. 27, commentary
Attitudes must change
It is reprehensible behavior to exploit one's previous intimate partner. Recourse may lie in part in legal remedy. A larger part of the answer lies in a discussion that challenges the cultural narrative of shame we brand on women who are publicly engaged in sexual expression or behavior.
Holly Jacobs cites the damage to her as current and potential employers became aware of these images. Do employers believe that female and male employees do not have a sexual component to their lives? Of course not.
If it is the issue of judgment on the woman's part, it is not within the control of the person who did not post the pictures — there is no judgment issue.
Why do we hold women accountable for their participation in sexual expression and activity with a partner when that partner later uses that information, or it is used by others? So pursue legal remedy, but as civil rights activist Audrey Lourde said, "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house."
We need to think about why there is such a market for this "product" of women's bodies. We need to challenge the misogynistic, prudish and voyeuristic attitudes we hold.
Julie Dumois-Sands, Tampa
Disney changes disabled access Sept. 24
Abuse of a privilege
Like many, I applaud the action taken by Disney to stop those who repulsively take advantage of the special assistance afforded impaired individuals. Perhaps the same sense of anger should be targeted at people whom most of us see every day: individuals, clearly not disabled, who choose to park permit-carrying vehicles in designated handicapped spots.
There are fines for nonpermitted cars, yet there appears to be no consequence for those who borrow a vehicle or just the identifying sticker from disabled relatives for the sole purpose of getting a closer parking spot.
Thomas I. Hayes, St. Petersburg