Opinions to go Online

The unique perspective and provocative opinions of Joe O’Neill

Wallet? Keys? Gun?

Periodically, we hear updates on the case of Curtis Reeves, the 71-year-old retired Tampa police officer involved in that notorious shooting death inside a Wesley Chapel movie theater. We know Reeves was denied bail in a hearing and has another one coming up in July. We also hear he’s confident that the second-degree murder charge [...]

Scott Roadshow Props

Recently Gov. Rick Scott came to town. By now we know his basic MO: blame and bask. Blame President Obama and Charlie Crist because life still isn’t fair and bask in empathy for a given audience. And then prepare non sequitur answers, typically beginning with “Gosh,” for any annoying media interlopers. Most recently he stopped [...]

JFK Retrospective

I know it’s more than Lynn Marvin Dingfelder and I who are compulsively intrigued by the life and loss of President John F. Kennedy. Here’s another interesting read I’d recommend: Thurston Clarke’s JFK’s Last Hundred Days. It’s intimate, haunting, ironic, tragic and confounding. Did he have to be THAT fallible? Could he have not lived [...]

Almost Accurate

The vote was unexpectedly close, but the Florida Senate has passed legislation that would give local school districts control over the textbooks they use. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said he was moved to act after hearing from local school board officials, who want more control over setting curriculum. “School board members say [...]

Sports Shorts

* Do any markets with professional sports franchises have a classier group presiding over their teams than this one? Joe Maddon set the bar high with the Rays–with being so much more than a baseball “lifer.” He’s articulate, educated, involved, respected and liked by those he manages. The Lightning’s Jon Cooper and the Bucs’ Lovie [...]


* “Ronald Reagan never wanted to be a war president, and there were no wars on Reagan’s watch. None. The Gipper was no neocon.”–Patrick J. Buchanan, Creators Syndicate. * “Despite rampant rumors that the C.I.A. is getting out of the counterterrorism business, nothing could be further from the truth.”–C.I.A. Director John O. Brennan. * “There’s [...]

Needed: A Campaign-Finance Amendment

Would that the First Amendment actually said: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press and centuries from now we solemnly trust these sacred rights will continue to prevail with appropriate application of wisdom and common sense pertinent to their context.” Arguably, there would never even have been [...]

Helmet-Law Principle Explains It All

Call it the helmet-law principle. It’s explained by Jeff Hennie, vice president for government relations for the Motorcycle Riders Association. “We are 100 percent anti-helmet laws, but we are 100 percent pro-helmet,” says Hennie. “We believe that the government should not tell you to wear a helmet.” As we know, fatalities among motorcyclists have been [...]

Scott’s Ongoing Hispanic Challenge

What to make of Gov. Rick Scott’s recent contretemps with Florida Hispanics, who comprised 17 percent of the electorate in 2012? Frankly, it’s an extension of second-rate staffing, a maladroit modus operandi and persistent misperceptions about Florida Hispanics. Three and a half years in, Scott still doesn’t get the fact that it’s about more than [...]

Partnership Reminder

It wasn’t your basic letter to the editor. It had establishment data and rhetoric with a hint of edge to it. The one in last Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times celebrated the size, diversity and collective synergy of the Tampa Bay region. Not just the county hubs of Hillsborough and Pinellas, but also Pasco and Polk. [...]