1. Letters to the Editor

Sunday's letters: Column shines light on hypocrisy

Published Mar. 10, 2012

The church didn't want a fetus to sue | March 4, Robyn Blumner column

Column shines light on hypocrisy

Robyn Blumner has done it again. Her excellent memory and clear thinking have exposed the hypocrisy of religious leaders who twist their doctrine and theology for financial gain while holding onto their power.

Speaking as a retired pastor, I have observed that the rank and file of most religions — from Jews to Christians to Muslims — are fair-minded and God-fearing folk who only want to do what is right by themselves and others. On the other hand, those who establish laws and rule in religion seek hypocritically to control others for their own aggrandizement in wealth and power. They are shamelessly hypocritical, and Blumner is courageously exposing them for that.

Ralph N. Madison Jr., St. Petersburg

Fighting for penny a pound | March 4, Bill Maxwell column

Poor corporate citizen

After I was reminded by Bill Maxwell of my pledge to stop purchasing my tomatoes at Publix given their ongoing corporate policy to literally buy into the poor behavior of Florida growers, I turned to the business section, where I found Publix reported to be rated one of the top businesses in the world by Fortune.

This places the "corporations as people" debate into an interesting light. Does a corporation have the same moral obligation as individuals to do the right thing by our fellow human beings? I can handily combine my personal finances with my sense of right and wrong by using my wallet as my voice with businesses that act in violation to my principles.

Publix, a business that markets itself as warm and family-friendly, turns its back on almost slave-like labor by stating publicly that it "refuses to make payments directly to workers," a transparent excuse for simply choosing the bottom line over workers' lives, when other choices exist.

Here's another bottom line for Publix: Such "personhood" cuts both ways, and your corporation is not a very nice one.

Terri Benincasa, Palm Harbor

Schools to limit outside speakers | Feb. 29

Display of intolerance

At the last three Hillsborough County School Board meetings, a great deal of time was spent discussing the policy for inviting speakers into the classrooms. A group of very vocal but misinformed people are upset that a high school teacher invited Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to speak to a world religion class about Islam.

The group claimed this was not about Islam but about who was invited to speak. However, their behavior made it clear to me that this was about Islam, and about hatred. Just to give one example, several of the Muslim speakers were greeted with heckling from this crowd.

There were also a number of speakers, including myself, who actually know Shibly and have worked with CAIR. Some of these speakers represented Christians. All of us spoke positively about Shibly and about CAIR, and we attempted to correct some of the misinformation we heard.

First, he is not a terrorist and he is qualified to speak about Islam, since he is an imam. And CAIR does not support terrorism. CAIR was formed to counter stereotypes about Muslims and to work for civil liberties. Discussion of Christianity, like all religions, is allowed in the schools. Jews, Christians and Muslims come from the same tradition and worship the same God.

Melva Underbakke, Temple Terrace

Obama, GOP hopefuls trade fire over Iran March 7

Don't rush into war

Republican rhetoric advocating military intervention in Iran is reckless and endangering this great country.

However, should we get a new leader in November promoting yet another U.S.-led war, then we need to bring back the draft. The pain of sending loved ones into battle needs to be shared by every family across this nation.

True leadership is one that explores every nonmilitary option first and foremost and doesn't shoot from the hip and ask questions later, as we did in Iraq.

Baerbel R. Dagon, Tampa

Legislature turns back on public education March 8, commentary

Damaging education

Thanks to the writers of this opinion column. It is both sad and appalling to learn what our state legislators are doing to public education. The whole idea of charter companies, including for-profit corporations, taking over K-12 education without assessment measures and evaluative criteria in place is absurd.

Until our Florida politicians can get educated themselves, I'm afraid we're going to see them jump from one hasty proposal to another without using any sound reasoning and justifiable data as support.

This is evidenced by the "parent trigger" bill and the Senate bill that would allow private charter school companies to use public funds for building construction. When the November elections occur, I hope we will all remember these bills and those who supported them and, instead, vote for legislators who are educated.

Susan Zwieg, St. Petersburg

Money isn't the answer

I challenge the statement that the Legislature turns its back on education. Schools are a major part of every community's increasing taxes, but that seemingly does not produce a parallel increase in student ability.

The path to the American dream as described in this article existed in the '50s. Then we decided the system was unfair and proceeded to institute the "no matter who they are, what skills they start out with, or where they come from" ideology. It is not possible for any system to take those parameters, put them in the same schoolroom, and expect all to do well. Can you take a racehorse, a greyhound and a turtle and demand they reach the finish line at the same time?

This article decries allowing a for-profit system to at least try where the public system is failing, but why not? No amount of money will be a solution for today's public school system. Truth can be a harsh reality.

Lynn O'Keefe, Largo

It matters that they're all so rich | March 4

Penny for your thoughts

The author wrote that "a number of new studies suggest that, in certain key ways, people with that much money are not like the rest of us at all." Really? I wonder how much they paid for that information.

Diane Barker, Clearwater


  1. The Reed at Encore, one of Tampa's signature affordable housing projects
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  2. Yesterday• Opinion
    Dec. 3, 2019, front page of Tampa Bay Times Tampa Bay Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Friday’s letters to the editor.
  3. President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci); Transcript of Trump conversation with Ukraine's newly elected president Volodymyr Zelenskiy (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow) Associated Press
    Here’s what readers had to say in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
  4. Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
  5. Employees of the Ministry of Health paint a mural to promote awareness of AIDS and the HIV virus in Havana, Cuba. JOSE GOITIA  |  Canadian Press
    Here’s what readers had to say in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
  6. Adams Ranch, a candidate for protection in 2015 within the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area.
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  7. A fourth grade teacher and her daughter protest with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of the school board building in Tampa in Dec. 2017. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
  8. An unidentified man walks past palm trees reflected in glass panels at the Dali Museum Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 in St. Petersburg. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Friday’s letters to the editor.
  9. Two male turkeys from North Carolina named Bread and Butter, that will be pardoned by President Donald Trump, hang out in their hotel room at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) JACQUELYN MARTIN  |  AP
    Here’s what readers had to say in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
  10. Hernando County Courthouse
    Hernando County letters to the editor