1. Archive


Budget, sequester, air control furloughs

Through the wonder of human inventiveness, we have vehicles that not only fly but do it at hundreds of miles an hour. Through the operation of the markets, there are thousands of these flying vehicles in the air at any given moment.

By the incompetence of the American Congress, we are furloughing the regulators necessary to ensure those flights are safe. Sequester is government by stupidity.

Every congressman bragging he won't compromise because of "principle" should reread the U.S. Constitution. It requires compromise to operate the government. All should respect the role of others in the American democracy. There is a simple design for funding the government established in the Constitution. Congressmen have a sworn duty to cause the government to function under that design.

When the House sends up budgets it knows the Senate will not seriously consider, it is purposefully failing its constitutional duty to originate bills that can be enacted into laws. Only the House can constitutionally originate budgets. For it to persistently and purposefully pass budgets that will not get enacted into law is a failure in constitutional duty of the foremost magnitude.

Every statue on an American courthouse lawn honoring military sacrifice should contain the prayer that our national leaders be worthy of the dedication of the serving young. When I hear the chest-beating, tough talk about non-negotiable budget principles rather than the sounds of the gears of government actually functioning, it makes me sick.

Douglas Bevins, Zephyrhills

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Budget, sequester, air control furloughs

FAA mismanagement?

The FAA has decided to furlough air traffic controllers one day every two weeks. That means that there will be 10 percent fewer controllers on duty at any given time. Considering the fact that sequestration caused a 2.3 percent reduction in funding at the FAA, it would appear that we either have a case of terrible mismanagement at the FAA or a case of intentionally inconveniencing the traveling public.

Ray Kelly, Spring Hill

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Legislative power grab on sick pay - April 24, editorial

Catering to special interests

I was wondering how state Rep. Steve Precourt and Sen. David Simmons could reconcile the GOP's stated goal of less government in light of their sponsorship of a legislative power grab over localities and municipalities vis-a-vis local ordinances granting private-sector workers paid sick leave.

Either it's less government intrusion or it's not; make up your minds. It would seem to the voters of Florida that you only obey that missive when it's convenient or profitable to you or your friends.

SB 726 and HB 655 are anathema to everything the people of Florida are being sold. It's a bill of goods crafted, obviously, for special interests. Why don't you two stay out of this and allow the people affected to decide their own fate?

Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg

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Immigration reform

A choice on immigration

I am afraid the "pathway to citizenship" currently under discussion will deal a death blow to the Republican Party. No matter how well-intentioned, it makes no sense for Republicans to support this.

We always hear that the main thing illegal immigrants want is a job, a way to send money back home. So give the illegal immigrants here a choice:legal status to enable them to work openly now/soon, in exchange for never being eligible for citizenship, orgoing back home and applying for legal entry and citizenship.

Ernest Lane, Trinity

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No bully in the pulpit - April 24, commentary

Blame the 46 senators

It was with incredulity that I recently read Maureen Dowd's article in which she places the blame for the Senate's inability to pass even the mildest, most watered-down piece of gun control legislation at the feet of President Barack Obama. She seems to feel that his failure to convince the 46 senators who voted against the measure that it was the right thing to do is the reason the effort failed.

Let's face it, if 20 dead first-graders in Newtown, Conn., 12 dead moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., and six people including a 9-year-old girl in Tucson, Ariz., don't convince them that something needs to be changed, then how would any president - especially one they have vowed to oppose at every turn?

There are only two logical explanations why these 46 senators voted "no" - they feel that criminals and mentally unstable people should still be able to purchase guns, or they are afraid of incurring the wrath of the NRA.

John Krevens, New Port Richey

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Clogged arteries may be our lot in life

April 24, Lifetimes column

Whole foods, whole health

Not so fast! Tom Valeo's article leads one to believe there is nothing to be done to prevent heart disease. As shown from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's research at the Cleveland Clinic, even advanced cardiovascular disease can be reversed by eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet. No medication, no surgery necessary. Eschewing animal products benefits the planet as well.

Julia LaCava, Tampa

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Religion rules under review - April 24

Kemple's glaring bigotry

I find it so ironic that Terry Kemple says students "shed their First Amendment rights when they walk through the door of a school." I agree, and see nothing wrong with students passing out religious invitations. However, Kemple is the same man who tramples the First Amendment rights of speakers who happen to not be Christian.

Kemple's bigotry is so obvious that it is embarrassing to anyone; it is frightening to think that he wants to serve on the Hillsborough School Board.

Ronald Medvin, Tampa

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Texas fertilizer plant explosion

Downright criminal

Why isn't there more coverage of the explosion at Adair Grain in West, Texas, that killed 14 and injured over 200? Last year, the fertilizer plant stored 270 tons of ammonium nitrate, 1,350 times that used in the Oklahoma City bombing. Homeland Security required oversight for quantities over 400 pounds.

Plant owner Donald Adair released a general statement expressing sorrow over the incident. I would prefer a charge of negligent homicide.

Fred Nelson, St. Petersburg