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Doris writes a weekly column for LaGaceta, the nation's only trilingual newspaper, which has pages in English, Spanish, and Italian.  Begun in 1922 for Tampa's immigrant community, it continues to thrive more than a century later.  Her column is titled "In Context," as it aims to put contemporary issues in the context of the past.

Quitting a Quorum

Did you see the item about the radical Republican lawmakers in Oregon who left the state so that the legislature would not have a quorum?  This is the tactic of little boys who take their marbles and run rather than finish a game they are going to lose.  The Oregon guys probably were surprised when the Democratic governor – the state's third woman in that office -- sent law enforcement to round them up to do their lawful duty.  This is outrageous behavior on the part of elected officials who have taken an oath of office, but it has happened before.  Read More 

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Another View of the Still-Relevant Past

I've written two books about American women and World War II, in which I've tried to make the point that Russian women (and men) contributed infinitely more than we to victory.  Yet I feel the need to provide this context again, as far too many people today have forgotten that Russia was our ally and Nazi Germany was our mutual enemy.  Indeed, we would not have won without Russia (or as it was then, the chief province of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).  These Slavic-language peoples suffered tremendously more losses, both military and especially civilian, than we or our English-speaking allies.  Read More 

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Our Best and Brightest: The Origins

I worked for Betty Castor during her campaign for education commissioner in 1986, when the question of establishing a state lottery was on the ballot.  She (and I) hesitated about it, but did not object if it really would raise additional money for education.  Voters adopted it, and Betty worked hard to direct the flow of dollars to two specific, measurable programs at opposite ends of the school spectrum:  early childhood education and merit scholarships at our public universities.  Read More 

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A Plea for Historic Preservation

Willie Robinson died last week, his life's goal unachieved.  He was born in 1948, after African Americans had demonstrated great patriotism in World War II, but while his native Tampa still was very much the segregated South.  Because no hotel would rent a room to a black person, Willie's mother ran a boarding house at 851 Zach Street, conveniently near the train depot.  His grandmother, Sarah Jackson, had begun it early in the 20th century, and it was the only place in town where blacks were welcome to spend the night.  This was true even though some Jackson House guests were celebrities:  among them were musicians Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, and James Brown; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stayed there when he came to Tampa in 1961. Read More 

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