Majestic animals deserve better
The circus is in town. Joyful children and smiling parents are driving attendance up for Ringling Bros. Everyone is happy, right? Yes, everyone except the animals. These animals look healthy and content; so what's all the fuss?
I too was a mom who brought my children to the circus every year, oblivious to the plight of these animals. Then I became an educated consumer and learned the truth behind the training methods. These include bull hooks, electric prods and whips, all painful.
I learned that, in the wild, these animals would have miles and miles of territory to roam, but while traveling with the circus 10 months a year, they are confined to housing in cages, trucks and railroad cars. These spaces are so small that they cannot even turn around in them.
These majestic animals deserve more. These tigers and elephants are bred for a life of misery. Why? For the sake of greed.
If the circus followed the example of Cirque du Soleil and did not use animals, attendance would soar. I would again be proud to bring my children and grandchildren to the circus. Education is the answer. Please, support only nonanimal circuses.
Barbara Frank, Lutz
Health care lawsuit
Constitution includes broad grant of authority
When the new state attorney general asserts that "the Constitution grants Congress only specific powers," she reveals that she needed to pay attention when Republicans had that document read aloud in a House session.
She needs to be reacquainted with the Article I, Section 8 paragraph stating that in addition to the specific powers mentioned, Congress shall have the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers."
This broad grant of authority was wisely included to allow for future policy adjustments that would be needed to "promote the general welfare," as stated in the opening paragraph of the Constitution.
In 1819, the Supreme Court affirmed an expansive understanding of the "necessary and proper" clause in McCulloch vs. Maryland, establishing precedent for the doctrine of "implied powers."
Roland Moy, St. Petersburg
After reading Pam Bondi's assertions that the new national health care reform act is unconstitutional, I am looking forward to her defense of Florida's requirement that I must purchase auto insurance and, furthermore, that I must make a forced contribution to state-run Citizens Insurance every time I pay my auto and homeowner's insurance premiums.
If anything is the height of Marxist socialism, it is the confiscation of my money to pay for someone else's property insurance.
Jeff Radley, Lithia
Red light cameras
Results not all positive
As a Chicagoan, I was interested to read Strong support for red light cameras in Hillsborough, Pinellas in the Times Dec. 29.
We have had a few years of experience with them.
Many people in the Chicago area who were in favor of red light cameras change their minds when they get tickets for failing to come to a complete stop when making a right turn on red, which is by far what most of the tickets issued by red light cameras are for.
The Chicago Tribune reported recently that while there has been a reduction in collisions associated with running a red light at some intersections, there has been no improvement at other intersections, and there has been an increase in the number of rear-end collisions at still other intersections.
Don Evans, Clearwater
Officer resigns in sex scandal | Jan. 4
Dishonoring his profession
In Florida, a law enforcement officer can endanger the lives of his co-workers, have sex while on duty and on the taxpayers' dime, utterly ignore the department's standards of conduct and still receive benefits of $4,645 a month for life.
This officer resigned before he was fired, but it would not have mattered; even if he had been fired, he would continue to receive the same comfortable retirement benefits.
The article indicates that a public employee would need to have committed a felony that defrauds the public, such as bribery, to have jeopardized his benefits. Reviewing the four departmental violations that were applicable, I think the officer did defraud the public and he terribly dishonored an honorable and lifesaving profession.
Doesn't it make sense that maintaining some minimum standard of ethical job performance throughout one's career would be linked to collecting benefits? Perhaps this loophole can be closed via the new governor's mission to crack down on public corruption, but I suspect not.
Peter Schleh, Tampa
Boomers counting on benefits Jan. 4, letters
Boomers and the debt
A letter writer protests proposed cuts in Social Security and Medicare because baby boomers have "counted on the government promises." Most of the $14 trillion of U.S. debt has been accumulated during the lifetime of the baby boom generation, and they have prospered greatly from the government living beyond its means their entire lifetimes. Since the boomers have enjoyed the first fruits of the debt, I think it is only fair that they bear the brunt of the cutbacks needed to start addressing that debt. Don't worry, boomers, you will still have enjoyed far more benefits from deficit spending than you will ever have to pay back.
And haven't the boomers been voting all these years? When you only vote for politicians who cut your taxes but never cut spending, then, yes, the deficit and the debt are your fault. This is government of the people, by the people and for the people.
The baby boom generation has spent its lives living beyond its means personally and only voting for governments that do the same. For them to now sit back and demand that other generations sacrifice and bear the burden of those decisions is nothing other than selfish and self-centered. And, yes, I do fall within the baby boom generation myself.
William Carroll, Gulfport
Who said it ( in his inaugural speech)? Jan. 8
Although these two governors, Rick Scott and Andrew Cuomo, come from opposite sides of the political spectrum, I could not figure out what was said by whom.
This little test further confirmed my prejudice to ignore most public utterances by politicians. Come on, governors. Enough of sappy platitudes. Don't be afraid to be say the hard truths — you've already been elected.
Adrian Hagen, Sun City Center