Don't be gullible and let our young democracy fail | Letters – Tampa Bay Times
No, the Nazis are not coming | Column, Nov. 18
I worry about the fragility of our young democracy. Many have very largely fallen for the “big lie” that Donald Trump espouses — that the 2020 election was “stolen.” The Founders’ biggest concern was that the people would not be educated adequately to know how to preserve the republic they had gifted us. Today’s condition proves that their concern was well-founded. We have an under-educated population whose emotions and prejudices have been stirred for years by Trump and his lieutenants. At 72 years of age, I have been alive for more than a quarter of the time that our republic has existed. That should tell you just how young a nation we are. This is an experiment. And experiments, if not properly attended, often fail. We must get our education system under control and begin to teach our children why they should love this republic so they will strive to keep it. I want my children and grandchildren to live in freedom and democracy. Please do not think that fascism cannot become a reality here. It can. We are not immune from the human condition.
Jon Soskis, Havana
After ‘two strikes,’ prison for life | Nov. 14
The 1997 “two strikes” law clearly needs to be reevaluated. We cannot, as a humane society, throw away people for life imprisonment, for lesser, nonviolent crimes. According to a now-retired judge quoted in the article, “The law is what the Legislature decides it to be.” Our judges must follow the law. Let us encourage and support bills that would roll this arbitrarily designed law back. I am a Democrat, but heartily wish to support state Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg in his now twice-failed efforts to roll back this bill.
Chris Edwards, Holiday
Military families go hungry | Nov. 16
When I was a young second lieutenant stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, we faced the same issue for our young married soldiers. I remember sending these young men to the local food bank in town to collect food stamps which could be used in the Army commissary on post. This procedure helped these young married people in the days of the draft Army. Some years later I ran into a older sergeant who had been one of these young men and he told me that the food stamps were what kept his family fed when he was a private first class (E-2).
Kerry Cushing, Holiday
I’m a retired Tampa doctor, and anti-vaxxers puzzle me | Column, Nov. 15
I have championed an immunity “passport” with reasonable exemptions. Dr. David Lubin’s essay illustrates what has resulted from the lack of traction for this simple concept, curiously opposed at both political poles. One the one hand, we have frustration with the resisters and pressures to impose vaccination. On the other hand, we see a robust return to normal behaviors by everyone, regardless of their immune status. Look around. It is specious to suggest that everyone now avidly participating in everything has been screened. Vaccination rates (apart from boosters and recently authorized children) remain on suboptimal trajectories. With a slow and narrow roll out of “or else,” we have diminished the leverage which a more universal “no shoes/no service” approach could have provided. That remains the ultimate freedom — the choice not to mix.
With the holidays arriving, we are staking a lot on natural immunity (often dismissed), on a 58% overall immunization rate (thought to be at least 20% shy), on the lack of emergence of further mutations and on the half of the population reachable via employer-based mandates, if executed. Maybe we’ll get lucky. If you want more vaccinations, make it worthwhile for everyone and not an “or else.”
Pat Byrne, Largo
The Rays’ flirtation with Montreal could become a true romance this week | Column, Nov. 17
So the Tampa Bay Rays owners will graciously pay for half the cost of building a new stadium in Ybor City. Wow. How about paying for all of it? It will be their business. They will reap the rewards. Why should you or I or anyone else in Hillsborough County pay a penny for the Rays to make a profit that we will never see. The cost for half the stadium is estimated at $350 million. Look at the roads, traffic, schools, etc., that $350 million would help fix. It would be much better spent in those areas than giving it to multi-millionaires/billionaires to underwrite their hobby and give them more money.
Elizabeth Belcher, Seffner
Just how big are Florida’s ports? | Editorial, Nov. 14
This editorial on the capacities of Florida’s six commercial seaports compared with other ports, notably the Port of Los Angeles, provided interesting information regarding the current supply chain backup. While Gov. Ron DeSantis has boosted his home ports as an alternative offloading destination, could the backup actually be alleviated by the use of Florida’s ports, given that most of the delayed cargoes are aboard ships languishing off the West Coast? For those ships to offload in Florida they would have to steam about an additional week and incur Panama Canal transit fees in both directions. According to published shipping industry estimates, operating costs of a “Panamax” container ship run about $9 million a year or about $25,000 a day. Panama Canal transit fees for container vessels are reportedly charged at the rate of $90 per container; the largest such vessels can carry up more than 15,000 containers. Thus it seems highly unlikely that such ships headed to the United States from across the Pacific would opt to extend their trips in order to offload in Florida.
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center