Bill pulls plug on cafes | March 16
Hypocrisy in drive against cafes
I am confused. Legislators say that Internet cafes must be closed because they prey on the elderly and are games of chance, not skill. But not one word has been said about slot machines at the large casinos — how are they different?
By the time most of us acquire these beautiful strands of gray on our heads, we have also acquired enough knowledge to be able to manage our own finances without the government's help. If I want to take $20 and go to a clean, quiet, friendly, nonsmoking place, play a few games of "chance" and have a snack with friends, nobody should be able to tell me I can't.
Why should I go to a casino and have my ears blasted by music, sit next to a human chimney, pay exorbitant prices for mediocre food and lose much more than that $20?
Is it just me, or is there a double standard here?
J.A. Baker, Palm Harbor
Polished but not perfect | March 17
I agree with the headline on this article about Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford. I was really impressed with the beginning of the story, but by the end of it, I realized that this young man's politics is just another story of nepotism and the "good-ole-boy, you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours" attitude. What a disappointment.
Kay Dahlstrom, Dunedin
The subheadline reads: "He's well liked by just about everyone, it seems." Obviously you haven't been reading your own published letters to the editor. He is not liked, trusted or respected by a great number of folk in Pasco County.
His hypocritical tea party pandering diatribes against anything outside that minuscule mind-set put him in the same category as Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and the majority of Florida legislators.
The starched white shirt, red tie photo on the front porch of his 3,000-square-foot house only serves to accentuate his bully stance against providing minimum health care for those of us who aren't able to "ask people for big checks."
Bob Dodd, Dade City
The rest of us earn a living
House Speaker Will Weatherford is quoted in Sunday's Times as saying "the president does not believe in America." What America is Weatherford talking about? The America where your rich and powerful father-in-law paves the way for your achievements? The America where you don't have to actually accomplish anything on your own? The America where you can buy a $500,000 home with a representative's salary of $31,000? The America where to supplement that meager salary you are able to land two "consulting" jobs paying thousands of dollars each, even though no one seems to know exactly what you did to earn that money?
No wonder the president does not believe in that America — it only exists for a select few. The rest of us have to earn our own way.
Joel Melvin, Clearwater
Clout behind medical pot | March 18
Opening a dangerous door
Perhaps attorney John Morgan should change his advertising slogan to "Morgan and Morgan: For the pot." In case he has forgotten, regardless of state laws, there is no such thing as "medical" marijuana under federal law. Marijuana continues to be a Schedule I substance, meaning that it has no currently accepted medical use and it has a high potential for abuse.
Studies have shown that marijuana use lowers IQ, increases heart rate, causes lung cancer and asthma as well as negatively affecting the immune system. Furthermore, it interferes with the ability to make good decisions and impairs reaction time.
As a trial lawyer, these last two side effects would probably be good for Morgan's litigation practice as he solicits more victims injured by impaired pot smoking drivers, employees and the like.
Pat Jennings, Dunedin
Bad for business
The recent decision by committees of the Florida Legislature to reject the expansion of Medicaid to nearly 1 million uninsured citizens is not only morally reprehensible, but fiscally irresponsible and bad for the businesses that anchor our state's economy.
Studies estimate that Florida would receive up to $55 billion in federal money over the first 10 years, and that an expanded Medicaid program would create somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 jobs, which are sorely needed in our struggling economy. Our state cannot afford to leave such a large sum of money on the table, and with nearly 8 percent unemployment around the state, job creation should be a top priority for the Legislature.
Without the expansion of Medicaid, many businesses in Florida will be placed at a competitive disadvantage and could look to relocate to other states with more business-friendly health care laws.
Greg Vawter, Temple Terrace
A family is torn by immigration system March 18
System isn't to blame
Please stop blaming the American system for the choices of others. The parents chose to break the law by coming here illegally. They chose to have children and not marry; chose to ignore an order to leave the country; and they chose to leave their children here. And now somehow we, the American people, are to blame?
Our system is one of the few to automatically grant citizenship to children born of illegal parents. In almost all other countries the children would be deported with the parents.
Robert Veurink, Clearwater
Bus ticket solves the issue
The Tampa Bay Times printed an article about an illegal immigrant family being torn apart. They had two kids here, then when finally caught and deported in 2008, they left the kids to stay with relatives. This family made a choice to break our laws. They also got a free ride on my tax dollars.
Want to reunite the family? Easy: The kids are Guatemalan citizens. All the parents have to do is buy them a bus ticket home.
Who thinks immigration reform is hard? Only our politicians, who broke the system by not enforcing our laws. I only wish we could deport all of our politicians too.
Craig R. McNees, Tampa