Bill softens Citizens blow - April 26
Let's see if I've got this right: The Florida House of Representatives wants to increase homeowners' premiums for Citizens Property Insurance to one of two new highs. New customers would pay premiums that are "actuarially sound." Existing customers would see an increase over the 10 percent "glide path" annually.
Citizens Insurance has amassed billions in surpluses since the last major storm in 2005, according to your paper. The focus of the proposed rate increase is to persuade Citizens customers to seek coverage with private-sector property insurance companies - the same companies that support Florida lobbyists and make campaign contributions to worthy public servants like those who propose this legislation.
So what I get from this is that as a Citizens customer, the Republican-controlled House wants me to move to "Curly, Moe & Shemp Property Insurance and Auto Tire Vulcanizing Co.," whose reserves may or may not be able to withstand the impact of a major storm. Again the customer loses.
Joe King, New Port Richey
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An enduring racial animus April 21, Bill Maxwell column
Who's playing race card?
I am sorry that some idiot used Bill Maxwell's face for target practice. I am sorry that some other idiot used Trayvon Martin's face for target practice. I am sorry that George W. Bush's face has been used by idiots for target practice.
I am sorry that Africans were sold as slaves by their own chieftains and brought to America by ruthless slave traders to brutal and terrible lives of slavery.
I am sorry for the decades of prejudice and discrimination against the black race.
I am sorry for the bitter and sometimes violent struggle for civil rights that I witnessed firsthand in the '60s. It has been a long, hard road to get to where we are now. The election, then re-election, of our first black president belies your conclusion that America is a place of hatred and racial animus.
What I am not sorry for is my dislike for our president's policies, my puzzlement over his lavish parties and trips during tough economic times, and my deep concern over his escalation of social programs that we cannot afford.
My concerns are not based on the color of our president's skin - they are based on the lack of beneficial results from his decisions. How sad that I am not allowed to express them for fear of being labeled a racist.
Who is playing the race card, me or Bill Maxwell?
Laura Harris, Brandon
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Covert and overt racism
This is for Bill Maxwell.
I am living in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and watched the presidential election from afar. I voted by absentee ballot. I read all kinds of articles during the election and also received many messages from an old high school acquaintance who is now a tea party member.
Most of the articles written about President Barack Obama were thinly veiled (or blatant) racism. Some of the purported fact-finding, especially about Obama's birthplace, was really horrible. The accusations made by people claiming to be rational were so unbelievably racist I sometimes could not believe my eyes.
So I agree with Bill Maxwell.
Elizabeth Ooms, Lake Como, N.J.
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Bias runs both ways
Let's assume for the moment that Bill Maxwell is right, and that criticism of President Barack Obama, his policies, vacations, etc., is driven by racial animus. Despite no evidence or data to support his theory, if true, it would be a bad thing.
What then does he say about the president's supporters, many of whom admittedly voted for Obama because he is black? Are they not driven by race? Is racism in another form any less insidious?
Jackie Robinson endured racism despite being a superb ballplayer. The president, at least on the economy, is hitting well below the Mendoza Line and deserves to be criticized as any president would.
Finally, the old trope of racist until proven otherwise is weak and tiresome. I have come to expect better from Mr. Maxwell.
Eric Burns, Palm Harbor
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Perspective cover - April 21
The fourth victim
I found the pictures on the cover of the Perspective section to be fascinating. The images showed a Boston that was strong, united and full of people willing to help one another. However, a photo of the captured suspect was included while a photo of the MIT officer he allegedly killed was omitted.
I have noticed that many news organizations are consistently referring to the three victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and neglect to mention Officer Sean Collier. Collier was as much a victim of this madness as the other three who died that Monday.
I wish you had included a photo of Collier as opposed to the suspect, as I believe that it sent a message that a villain gets more press than a hero.
Kayla Kuni, New Port Richey
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Boston bombing isn't the first time U.S. missed threat - April 24, PolitiFact
King's selective blame
PolitiFact was nice enough to assign a "Mostly True" designation to Rep. Peter King's assertions that there were five cases where the Obama administration allowed terrorists to murder because it did not follow through on investigations. In three of those cases, no Americans were killed, and in a fourth, one was. Only the Army major killed multiple people at the Fort Hood Army base and, in that case, the Army officials are more to blame than anyone else.
However, the bombastic King never opined about the loss of almost 3,000 Americans on 9/11 due to the Bush administration's ignoring the report it was given on the use of airplanes by al-Qaida, a potential threat to the country.
Is it possible that King only criticizes Democrats and casts a blind eye toward Republican mistakes?
Roger Gambert, Palm Harbor