Opinions to go Online

The unique perspective and provocative opinions of Joe O’Neill

Gasparilla Agenda: More Fun, Fewer Arrests

The statistics speak volumes. In 2011 nearly 350 people were arrested at the Gasparilla (“adult”) Parade. Last year it was less than 50. What had become a salute to debauchery, regurgitation and rites of pissage had turned into a huge, professionally manageable street parade with crowd-control challenges. What had become a day without rules had [...]

Pot Agenda

It could be a “win-win” for Florida GOPsters if the Republican-dominated Legislature passes a medical marijuana bill. Doing the right thing and keeping a potentially Democrat-aiding constitutional amendment off the 2016 ballot–possibly in that order.

Medium Matters

*As we know, those State of the Union addresses don’t draw as many viewers as they used to. This year President Barack Obama’s SOTU drew 31.7 million views, down about 5 percent from last year. His first one, in 2009, drew 52 million. It’s not necessarily a comment on the office-holder, but a reflection of [...]

Growing Presence

This just in. According to a report commissioned by American Express, Tampa Bay ranks 7th among the 25 largest metro areas in the country for the economic impact of women-owned businesses. The AE report says the number of women-owned businesses in the Tampa Bay region increased 50 percent–to more than 80,000–from 2002-14. The number of [...]

Foreign Fodder

* Venezuela’s government didn’t like it a bit when the former leaders of Mexico, Chile and Colombia–Felipe Calderón, Sebastián Piñera and Andrés Pastrana, respectively–came to Caracas last weekend to attend a pro-democracy symposium organized by the foes of President Nicolás Maduro. In fact, Pinera and Pastrana were prevented from visiting with jailed opposition leader Leopoldo [...]

Sports Shorts

* While much is still being made of the deflated footballs used by the New England Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts, largely overlooked was a more important issue in the Seattle Seahawks’ overtime win against the Green Bay Packers. How, in a playoff that will determine one of the participants in the Super Bowl, does [...]


* “A territorial, social, ethnic apartheid has spread across our country.”–French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. * “… Something else is also at work, and it needs to be discussed. It is the struggle within Arab and Pakistani Sunni Islam over whether and how to embrace modernity, pluralism and women’s rights. That struggle drives, and is [...]

Supreme Court Hears Judicial-Fundraising Case

By June, we will know the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on a First Amendment case whose ripples will emanate from Tampa. In 2010, public defender Lanell Williams-Yulee didn’t just lose big in her election challenge to Judge Dick Greco Jr. for a seat on the Hillsborough County Court, she also took a notable hit from [...]

Misrepresenting MLK

One of these yearswe’re going to get through an MLK holiday without the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message being misappropriated. Two recent examples: First, the Seattle Seahawks, in the aftermath of their Green Bay gift-wrapped, come-from-behind win over the Packers, sent out a celebratory twitter message that said “We shall overcome.” It was accompanied [...]

Mixed MLK Message

It was a prominent photo on page 3 of the Local section of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rev. Charles McKenzie of Tampa was leading placard-carrying marchers and their placard-carrying children to help spread a message about race. The headline read: “In The Spirit Of MLK.” Then I took a closer look at the placards. [...]