As a result of this abuse of power and deception, more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers are dead, along with thousands upon thousands of Iraqi civilians. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and there was no connection to Iraq regarding the tragedy that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, our rights as U.S. citizens have been violated.
Every citizen needs to contact his or her congressmen and senators to bring this important issue to the forefront. It is your constitutional right.
Marianne Wilson, Clearwater
1 long divorce | June 22, story
Spare us the gossip
Is this what the Times has become? We are in the middle of a war with Iraq and Afghanistan; thousands of people in the Midwest are without a home due to flooding; we are in the midst of the most exciting election in the last 40 years. And the front page of the Sunday Times is "1 Long Divorce"?
Why would any of the readership of the Times care about one woman's plight to exact revenge on her poor choice of a husband, who apparently has no character? When is the Times going to get back to actual news, as in current events happening in our country or world, instead of small-town gossip we could all do without?
Joshua Spiegelhoff, Tampa
Mexico pays dear in drug war June 18, commentary
The United States' drug prohibition policies are like a broken sewer pipe that's not only flooding and stinking up our own home, but our neighbors' homes as well.
The solution is not to use more mops and buckets of law enforcement, but rather to fix the broken sewer pipe of drug prohibition.
Law enforcement didn't get rid of the alcohol cartels — ending alcohol prohibition got rid of the alcohol cartels — and the violence and corruption that went with them.
Kirk Muse, Mesa, Ariz.
Bad buzz for alcoholic energy drinks | June 21, story
They start young
Kudos to the Times for putting the story about alco-pops on the front page, above the fold. The industries that supply beer, wine and spirits have long sought to develop new markets, and the only way to do that is to attract the underage or young target market. Why? Because if people only drank "socially," these companies would go out of business.
The truth is, a small minority of drinkers consume a large majority of alcoholic beverages. And who are these consumers? They are the alcoholics. And alcoholics have a relatively short span of time during which to consume. They die, whether in accidents, homicides or diseases caused by excessive drinking.
The purveyors of beer, wine and spirits need new victims, and the only way to do that is to market to the young.
Laura Leland, Gulfport
Rein in reckless oil speculators June 22, letter
Don't blame market
Does it not scare anyone that a U.S. senator chooses to blame capitalism for the price of oil? Sen. Bill Nelson (Democrat) elects to accuse Wall Street (capitalism at its finest) of "profiteering and excessive speculation."
For the past 25 years, Democrats have used oppressive regulations to handcuff the oil industry: no drilling, no new refineries, no exploration. And this industry is expected to provide plentiful, cheap fuel. Now the answer is more regulation?
Senator, why don't you and the rest of your party come out in favor of nationalizing the oil industry? If it's good enough for Hugo Chavez, it should be good enough for the Democratic Party.
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Obama zeroes in on offshore drilling, McCain | June 21, story
This article further impressed upon me the difference between real solutions and cheap political shilling.
Undeterred by his roundly rejected gas tax holiday gimmick, Sen. John McCain's switch on offshore drilling reveals Straight Talk John for what he really is — an out-of-touch politician who will do and say anything to get elected.
It is laughable to believe that the philanthropic oil companies will invest the necessary human and financial resources to drill for a negligible amount of oil that may or may not exist and that we cannot use for a decade — and then lower oil prices.
Offshore drilling, as Sen. Barack Obama correctly states, will not result in either long-term or short-term relief at the gas pump. Instead, it will result only in further inflated profits for Big Oil and untold environmental perils.
Johnny Bardine, St. Petersburg
Drilling risks are real
The Mobile (Ala.) Register reported in 2002 that oil and gas operations dump a billion pounds of drilling fluids into the Gulf of Mexico each year. These fluids are contaminated with mercury.
The U.S. Minerals Management Service, whose job it is to keep an eye on offshore oil fields, discovered levels of mercury in the sand around some gulf oil rigs that are three times the level of EPA Superfund sites where all fishing has been banned.
What was the MMS response? Well, this is the Bush administration, during which everything is upside-down. The MMS proceeded to encourage recreational fishing around the rigs.
The Register organized hair tests of Gulf Coast residents and found dangerously high levels of mercury in people who ate fish at least once a week, especially those who fished the rigs.
Let's not worry merely about the oil spills that may happen when we allow drilling off the shore of Florida. Let's worry about the pollution that will happen.
Bruce Kula, Indian Rocks Beach
Now showing at Sweetbay | June 16, story
Thank you for the article regarding the ospreys at the St. Petersburg Sweetbay supermarket. Osprey nests are draped all over the county and quite a few can be found on light poles or on top of signs in parking lots. Sometimes nesting trees come down in storms and sometimes they are lost to development. When osprey families relocate to a shopping center they become more vulnerable.
I'd like to encourage all shopping centers with osprey nests to consider tall pines in their landscaping near the nests. Male ospreys like to sit in a tall pine near the nest at night and pines would allow branching opportunities for young ospreys as they begin to leave the nest.
Now showing at the Palm Harbor Muvico is a pair of ospreys nesting on the establishment sign. This is the first year they built a nest in that location. The Clearwater Audubon Society is seeking volunteers with carpentry skills to build a platform as this pair of ospreys are to be relocated to a safer spot.
The Audubon Society would also like to hear from people who are monitoring the Sweetbay nest, in order to enhance data collection of Pinellas ospreys and speed rescue should it ever be needed.
To volunteer for osprey monitoring or to learn more about the osprey, please call the Clearwater Audubon Society at (727) 442-9140.
Barbara Walker, Clearwater Audubon Society, Palm Harbor