President oversteps his authority - June 21, letter
After noting the "executive order regarding immigrant children being brought here by their law-breaking parents," a letter writer continues with, "A year ago he (President Barack Obama) said he had no authority to overturn immigration law on his own."
It is obvious that the writer gets news from Fox News, because this week that network ran a video interview from nine months ago with the president in which Obama did make a statement that appears to validate the letter's claim.
What Fox viewers did not see was the rest of the interview. Fox cut off the president immediately after the above statement and just before he clarified that he did have the authority to prioritize immigration enforcement.
A unilateral decision such as this has precedent going back to as recently as President George W. Bush who, in 2007, issued an executive order on immigration that did the same thing that Fox edited from the Obama interview.
It is unfortunate that Fox News continues to manipulate the news to the detriment of their viewers who do not bother verifying the "facts."
Jon Rector, Tampa
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Write-in ploys shut voters out
June 19, editorial
Put reform on the ballot
Every election, write-in candidates are used to close primaries and effectively disenfranchise voters, and every election, you rightfully editorialize against the practice.
You are correct that it is long past time for the "write-in loophole" to be closed, but it is unlikely the Legislature will step up and pass the necessary legislation, as they have shrugged off calls to do so in the past. Instead, we'll need to do it ourselves; a constitutional amendment will be necessary. A petition drive should be organized now so that this measure can be on the ballot in 2014.
Sean Krummerich, Largo
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Big sky, clean politics - let's keep it that way
June 21, commentary
Montana does it right
Praise should be heaped on the shoulders of Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock for his stand against the corporate vote-buying approved by the Supreme Court in Citizens United. Logic would indicate support for him would come from the conservative wing of Congress and its vitriolic supporters who espouse "states' rights" over federal interference and scream about the evils of "judicial activisim." Of course we have learned that in their narrow world view it is perfectly acceptable for a right-tilting Congress to trump any "liberal" state action and for rapture to flow over the decisions of what is probably one of the most "activist" courts in the history of this country.
In his opinion piece, Bullock provided the clearest expression of the wrongness of Citizens United when he noted that "electoral races aren't as transparent as NASCAR races" where the companies are proud to display their logos on cars and drivers. Voters of all stripes should be very afraid of a political system that equates corporate bodies with people and allows its politicians to conceal the logos of their sponsors from the public eye.
Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa
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Slain officers' wives sue jailed suspect
No place for snideness
I was shocked to read the opening line of this article on the front page of today's Tampa Bay Times: "Jail isn't enough. Now they're coming for his soda and stamps." This refers to the widows of two slain police officers who do not want the person charged in the deaths to have access to any funds donated for the purchase of "jailhouse extras" that make him comfortable.
I deem this wording insensitive, mean-spirited and much too subjective. If the snide opening statement angered me, I can only imagine how it would have affected the women it referred to.
Carol Lee O'Shea, Trinity
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Hand gator took can't be reattached
As a Christian, I found this article's quotation from a 911 call to be very offensive. Why was this use of the Lord's name, which is considered inappropriate language or swearing, included in the article for people of all ages to read?
The quotes could have been left out and it would not have changed the nature of the article at all. I find it to be a poor case of editing that I am sure has offended many people of faith.
Andy Mason, Seminole
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Reliever puts Rays in sticky situation
Keep it classy
Say it ain't so, Joe!
I hope I'm misreading the story, but it seems like Rays manager Joe Maddon is tolerant of his players breaking the rules, a.k.a. cheating.
Everyone loves a winner, but those of us who love the game know that it matters how you win. While putting pine tar in a pitcher's glove may be "common practice," it's still against the rules.
The Rays organization is a class act. What neither they nor Tampa Bay needs is for this team to begin the slide into becoming just another bunch of "characterless characters."
Rich Reidy, Tampa
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Dali plea: Don't fence us in - June 21
Museum deserves a break
I realize that the Grand Prix race is important to St. Petersburg. But aren't the Dali Museum and Mahaffey Theater equally important? They will be there long after the barriers are removed. They need to be open to remain successful.
The City Council and mayor say a lot of revenue is generated from the race. They could take some of that revenue and give it to the Dali Museum and Mahaffey Theater to compensate them for their losses.
J. Townsend, St. Petersburg
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'Fast, Furious' feud rolls - June 21
An abuse of power
Now that the fox has decided to guard the henhouse by invoking presidential privilege in regard to Congress' probe into the "Fast and Furious" investigation and Attorney General Eric Holder, what's left to stop this kind of abuse of power from going further in retribution and retaliation?
Where's all that transparency that was promised by this administration when they first took office, and the promise of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to drain the swamp?
This is just the same old politics.
Ray Brown, Tampa
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European success story - June 21, letter
Programs come at a cost
Germany taxes its citizens at significantly higher rates than we do in the United States. A German taxpayer, married with two children and earning the equivalent of $100,000, would pay combined income and social security taxes of $31,400 (after taking into consideration the child allowance). Compare that to his American counterpart with no itemized deductions whose combined tax bill is $15,920, or almost half. The comparison at $50,000 is worse, $9,900 in Germany versus $3,600 in the United States.
If you want increased social spending, everyone will have to pay more in taxes, not just the top 2 or 3 percent.
Mary Anne Reilly, St. Petersburg
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New York City's proposed ban on large sugary drinks aims to create a fitter, slimmer population. By guaranteeing that the public consumes only approved healthy products, obesity-related health complications - and there are many - would decline. Thus the money the government spends for health care would also drop. With New York's declaration of war against those fountain sodas, and consideration of expanding the ban to encompass other unhealthful products, an essential question arises regarding the government's role in subsidizing health care costs.
The federal government will spend $846.1 billion on health care-related expenditures in fiscal 2012. Rising obesity rates have boosted health care costs. In fact, the government's outlays related to obesity equate to nearly 20 percent of health care costs.
If we rely on the government to assist us in paying for our health care costs, should it not have the power to influence our daily consumption habits? As we continue to compromise our health and rely on the government to assist us in paying for our bad habits, should not the government get a growing say in our personal behavior, since they are stuck with the bill?
With the Supreme Court set to decide on the health care overhaul, pay close attention to the court's opinion of the substantial effects test, which, under the guise of the interstate commerce clause, allows the government to intervene in commerce that substantially affects the nation's economy. Health care obviously substantially affects the economy, and obesity substantially affects health care costs.
If the court extends the interstate commerce clause's power and permits the government's individual mandate, the government may next look to curb its health care costs by limiting consumer options to healthy foodstuffs.
Kyle Caudell, Clearwater