1. Letters to the Editor

Sunday's letters: A Florida expedition of learning

A corridor for Florida wildlife | Jan. 22

A Florida expedition of learning

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Times and Craig Pittman for the outstanding documentation of Carlton Ward Jr. and his team's exciting expedition through Florida.

As an educator, I feel that every student should be encouraged to follow this historic expedition. The importance for our state is priceless, and state officials and residents need to give their full support.

Please continue to cover the progress of the expedition until the Florida Wildlife Corridor becomes a reality. Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the great conservationist of the Everglades, stated: "You can't preserve what you haven't got."

Thank you to Carlton and his team for taking us all on the adventure of a lifetime and helping us preserve the essence of what makes Florida unique.

Susan Watson, Dover

The Mormon question: It's about race Jan. 22, Robyn Blumner column

Candidates' religious beliefs

shouldn't be questioned

Robyn Blumner brings to light a question that's on the minds of many voters but which they may hesitate to ask: namely the issue of candidate Mitt Romney's religious faith and how it relates to his candidacy.

Religious beliefs are just that, beliefs. No one has the right to question another's. In that sense one should not challenge assertions such as Jesus Christ visiting the United States or the Garden of Eden being in Missouri. It's no different from the belief that the universe was created some 6,000 years ago or that Noah was 600 years old when the Great Flood engulfed the Earth. Contrast that with the scientific assertions that the universe is 13 billion years old and that life on Earth began 2.5 billion years ago. Are religious beliefs parables that could be accepted along with scientific assertions? You decide.

As Blumner points out, what is still at issue is the original Mormon teachings about the African race, based solely on physical appearances. This may have paralleled the fact that in America at that time, slavery existed. It is gratifying to note that the church is evolving and that these teachings have disappeared.

But candidate Romney needs to go beyond that and denounce the Journal of Discourses argument that the black race was being punished by God (for what?). Never mind if the church itself comes forward and does it; Romney could do it now. That would go a long way toward legitimizing his faith in the equality of all human beings.

Sankaran S. Babu, Wesley Chapel

'Fair shot' for everyone | Jan. 25

Definition, please

I note the president and other politicos are using the term "fair share" with increasing frequency. This is repeated in the news media without data or an explanation of just what it is. Is there a definition of "fair share," or is this just a generic term?

Wayne Mock, St. Petersburg

Obama's state of the campaign | Jan. 25

Shared sacrifice

The editorial writer must have listened to a different speech than the rest of us. The president offered nothing new or compelling. He regurgitated the same lines he has been putting out for months. He should make an effort at being the chief executive. If he did, just maybe some solutions to the nation's many problems could be found.

Barack Obama likes to call for shared sacrifice and says the same rules should apply for all. However, nearly half of Americans pay no income tax at all; in fact they get money back. All Americans should contribute, even if the amount is small.

Rick Jordan, Spring Hill

If GOP runs losers, it deserves to lose Jan. 26, commentary

We deserve better

Bret Stephens hit the nail on the head. It almost seems as if the GOP is on a suicide run to destroy the party. If this is the best of the lot in the GOP, we are indeed in a sad state of affairs and deserve to lose. That doesn't even address that Barack Obama is the best his party can produce. I am ready to vote none of the above.

Donald Floyd, Tampa

Throwing stones

I read with anger the attacks on President Barack Obama. As Bret Stephens moved on to dissect the Republican presidential contenders, the anger turned to disdain. I realized that the reason the GOP runs losers is because they have nothing else to offer. All the GOP is capable of is throwing stones at our president, who struggles valiantly to help everyday Americans in these tough times.

The rich boys have no idea of how to run America because, from their lofty vantage points, they are detached from America.

Victoria Day Najjar, Oldsmar


Don't cut pharmacy access

"Med desert" is a relatively new term used to describe communities, both rural and urban, that lack basic access to health care services. Access can come in the form of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and even pharmacies. For many in Florida, pharmacy access might be a thing of the past.

That's because the state's decision to shift to managed care programs for Medicaid patients could have a devastating impact on pharmacies in the state, and could cut off patients from their needed pharmacy care. The loss of pharmacy access will further exacerbate the health care isolation felt already by many Floridians.

What will Medicaid patients have to do when they lose access to local pharmacies? They'll be told to order their prescriptions by mail. Mail order might be a great option for someone who has time to wait before they need their prescription, but for someone who needs medication tonight or over the weekend, and is in need of the counsel of a medical professional, mail order isn't going to work.

Pharmacies are a great asset to this state. Removing them from the choices for our most vulnerable patients is shortsighted and will backfire in the long term and result in health care costs rising.

Leke Alli, Tampa