Faster path to adult jail | Nov. 12, story
Don't punish children like adults
I am increasingly alarmed over the trend to prosecute children as adults. It is particularly dismaying to learn that Florida leads the nation in this practice. There are separate rules for adults and children for a reason. Children are incapable of perceiving their actions and the consequences of such in an adult fashion. Studies have shown that our brains are not fully developed until age 25. Minors also lack the life experiences that adults rely on to put their actions into perspective.
Children's crimes do need to be punished, but not by imprisoning them for life, or even condemning them to death. Children's crimes reflect not only the child's failure, but also the failure of parents and society. In their efforts to toughen up on crime, prosecutors are willing to throw away an individual's liberty, sometimes for life, before that person has had the ability to mature enough to fully comprehend his or her potential in this life.
I would like to support an effort to correct this practice of charging minors as adults, and hope our lawmakers will reverse this unfair trend.
Dr. Jeanne Sellers, Land O'Lakes
Congress is on wrong path for real reform
On Nov. 10, virtually all of the letters to the editor were praising the House for passing a health care bill. Apparently none of the letter writers have any idea how the bill will affect them.
From what has been disclosed to date, the effect will be negative for all of the writers. It will be costly for all of the middle class and continue to drag those below middle class on to the bottom. As far as the wealthy, they will lose as well, but they may not be devastated as much. That is except for the rationing aspect.
If real reform was the intent, then the existing problems with health care — cost, fraud and tort reform — would be resolved first. To add another bureaucratic program without any reform will only perpetuate the waste and inefficiency at a greater level.
This insanity must be stopped. Demand reform now.
Robert Hagaman, Homosassa
A good first step
For years I have been supporting Democratic candidates in every way because I believed in what they would do, if elected. Now that the Democrats are in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, these elected officials need to use their power to support the principles on which they ran.
Health care for all U.S. citizens is foremost as one of these principles!
Virtually all industrialized nations of the world (except the United States) have recognized the principle of universal health care and have, long ago, passed laws that mandate basic medical coverage for all their citizens!
The medical plan passed by the House on Nov. 7, by a large majority of Democratic representatives and one Republican congressman, is just the first step. Although it does not go far enough, it is at least a start toward equity with the rest of the world on health care and will a create a better and more prosperous America!
The U.S. Senate should adopt the House of Representatives' health plan as it stands with limited exception.
It is time the greatest nation on earth, the United States of America, proves that we really are a progressive nation, competitive with the rest of the world, and mindful of basic health care as a premise of any substantial nation. God Bless America!
Guy Bickerstaff, St. Petersburg
Public option needed
I am all for a public option in the health care reform bill. It is necessary.
I have just received notice that my health insurance premium is going up, from $278 to $396, roughly a 40 percent increase. This is at a time of recession and no cost of living increase in my Social Security income. I will have to adapt and compensate by decreasing spending in other areas.
And who knows what next year's premium will be since the private health insurance industry has no competition. Will they continue to increase it until it is no longer affordable? If so, what then?
Yes, we need a government-run health insurance plan that is available to all and that is affordable based on one's income — of course, as an option.
V. Paradis, Seminole
All the recent news coverage about health care reform has prompted me to pose a question which has lingered in my mind for some time, based on two medical procedures I had done in 2002 and 2003. These were performed at two different hospitals, St. Anthony's and Bayfront, both not-for-profit.
The first was a cardiac ablation. The amount billed was $22,273; the amount paid by my two insurance plans, Medicare and Tricare (both, by the way, government-sponsored) totaled $4,121, and covered the entire bill. I paid nothing, leaving a noncovered amount of $18,152.
The second was an inguinal hernia repair: billed $17,919, paid $3,014, noncovered, $14,905. Both were outpatient procedures, with no complications.
The question: Did some or all of the "noncovered" amounts go into the "uncompensated medical care" category? Now I know that Medicare is notoriously tight-fisted, but do some of the noncovered amounts belong in an "overbilled" category?
I doubt if my case is atypical.
Allen H. Loyd, St. Petersburg
Obama neglecting his top job: jobs Nov. 11, commentary
You have got to be kidding me. Americans are neglecting Americans in lost jobs. I am a small business owner and I see my competition hiring illegal aliens and green card holders. I see discrimination in the name of the almighty dollar, business owners who could not care less about the future of this country, not even our own offspring.
This also includes the customer who wants everything fast and cheap. I am outraged that America wants to jump from party to party to fix what we ourselves should put into action. We should support American labor even if it cost us a little more. Demand our government stop giving out green cards for at least two years, offer no amnesty for illegal aliens and secure our border.
William Oehlecker, New Port Richey
Priest's plea for help nets beating Nov. 11
I think it is commendable that the St. Petersburg Times printed this article on the front page.
I hope that people take in this experience and see that the prejudice, hatred and erroneous stereotypes that are continually perpetuated in our society about certain ethnic and cultural groups (the fact that this man assumed Father Alexios Marakis was terrorist because of his appearance), can have dangerous and even deadly consequences for innocent people.
Angela Clifford, Palm Harbor
Marine Corps and Obama
Don't blame Corps
There was an interesting juxtaposition in Thursday's A Section. On the front page was A battle over Lejeune statistics, with a smaller headline that said, "The Marine Corps bends numbers to wage an image war on the idea of a cancer cluster." And Page 2A was: Obama pledges to veterans: Nation will not let you down.
President Barack Obama is a politician and politicians spew rhetoric and slogans. The "Marine Corps" per se is not bending anything. Some person within the Corps is directing the image war. It is no doubt someone high up who has aspirations of becoming a politician or lobbyist, but also, without a doubt, someone who is not deserving the title of U.S. Marine. Marines don't do things like that to other Marines. A commander in chief who does something besides spew slogans doesn't allow that kind of behavior to see the light of day.
Name the person who is bending the numbers. Do not attribute it to "Marine Corps."
Bob Dodd, Dade City
Just who is the enemy? | Nov. 8
The Taliban agenda
The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan today may have different objectives, as noted in this article by Scott Shane, but their enemy is the government of both countries supported by America. What happens in Afghanistan is less important now because Pakistan is a nuclear power, but a victory there would greatly increase the danger to Pakistan.
While Shane tries to show different goals for the Taliban in each country, they both are radical Islamic parties with a similar objective: American defeat. Once America is defeated in Afghanistan, the struggle will be united against Pakistan despite any minor party differences.
W.H. Riddell, Tampa