Political discourse: lie, die? | Oct. 1, story
Odd complaints from the opposition
Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, made the comment that the opposition party's members "want you to die quickly if you get sick." The opposition party then reacts to it as premeditated, offensive, despicable and such.
It seemed quite all right that some conservative cronies of the same opposition party accused the president and Democrats of setting up "death panels." In spite of it being a false accusation, that was condoned as people being free to express their opinions.
It seemed perfectly permissible to have specially orchestrated protests, disruptions and yellings at several recent town hall meetings, denying lawfully and peacefully assembled citizens and their representatives their freedom to exchange opinions in an orderly manner.
The honorable representative who yelled "You lie" from the House floor at the president while he was delivering a speech to the joint session of Congress became a hero.
How odd that some of the people who justified the above actions are now crying about Rep. Alan Grayson's comment.
Alex Mathew, Tampa
More death rhetoric
It seems to be an incredible level of hypocrisy when Republicans and letter-writers complain about Rep. Alan Grayson's remarks on the floor of the House. Have these people all forgotten similar words from another Florida representative, Ginny Brown-Waite, who stated on the floor earlier this year that the Democrats' health care plan was sending a message to seniors to "drop dead"? Where was the Republicans' outrage at that statement?
While Grayson's choice of some of his words was not the best, his message is right on point. I'm a lifelong Republican senior who strongly supports a public option and single-payer system.
Charles Peters, Seminole
Respect for her elders | Sept. 28, BayLink
Be cautious in choosing
managers for elder care
Thank you for the article regarding geriatric care management in last Monday's BayLink. As the president of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers' Florida Chapter, I wanted to provide some additional information to your readers.
Care management is a growing profession that provides greatly needed expertise and guidance to people and their families dealing with aging issues or disability. Unfortunately, currently in Florida anyone can hang a shingle out and call themselves a care manager.
Most care managers deal with vulnerable clients, so I encourage consumers to hire only care managers who are members of the national and state association and hold one of the four certifications recognized by the association. Membership to the association requires proof of an advanced degree, experience in care management, and adherence to a Pledge of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The Florida chapter is pursuing licensure of all care managers to protect the public from individuals who are not qualified to practice care management.
The National Association of Professional Care Managers (www.caremanager.org) and the Florida Geriatric Care Managers Association (www.fgcma.org) have excellent Web sites that can educate consumers on questions to ask when interviewing care managers, search engines to find a care manager throughout the country, and educational information to aid you in your efforts to assist yourself or loved one.
Liz Barlowe, Seminole
Health care reform
Salaries for doctors?
As I listen to the voices surrounding the debate about health care, it strikes me that an important group has been singularly silent, namely physicians. If doctors are speaking out about it, they're speaking in very low voices.
My hypothesis is that some doctors fear that reform will hamper their entrepreneurial zeal to make as much money as possible, and indeed, some of them make a great deal of money.
It is noteworthy that the physicians of the Mayo Clinic, an institution hailed for its first-rate care at significantly lower cost than national averages, are on salary. Could there be a correlation between high medical costs and avaricious doctors?
I am curious what percentage of physicians would trade their "bill for service" business for an appropriate salary. The results of such a survey would be telling.
Jefferson Wells, St. Petersburg
SPCA reveals kill rates | Sept. 30, story
A great first step
I want to commend Jeff Fox, the president of the board of directors of the SPCA Tampa Bay, for his honesty and openness in admitting shortcomings in SPCA policy. He has not sought to hide or obfuscate any of the issues of concern. This is a good sign.
I am heartened by the fact that Fox will be contracting with an outside consultant to do a "thorough evaluation of the shelter, including surveys of employees and volunteers." This is a great first step that will give confidence to the longtime supporters and volunteers that the SPCA is going to make every effort to implement programs to drastically reduce euthanasia and greatly increase adoptions. I am sure the community will rally to help in that effort.
No one wants to see the SPCA fail that mission. Plaudits to Jeff Fox for his leadership.
Marilyn Weaver, Tarpon Springs
Dogs that charged woman and puppy had killed cats | Sept. 30, story
Where is the urgency?
The report of known killer pit bulls "stalking" a woman and her puppy who miraculously escaped into her garage is horrifying. So the Pinellas County Animal Services director, Welch Agnew, has been "investigating" these dogs since their previous killing of two cats in March and April.
I cannot think of any agenda item more important to Agnew than getting these killers off the street. Our 12-year-old granddaughter rides her bike daily past the most recent scene, and waits for the school bus with six other 11- and 12-year-olds not more than a quarter-mile from where these pit bulls are kept (or not kept as the owner decides).
I got little information from Animal Services on how this case will progress but was told that the St. Petersburg Times probably will report on it because of the visibility of this case.
Animal Services needs to get its priorities straight. Perhaps Agnew should budget for armed county deputies as escorts for pedestrians whenever he is too busy or otherwise indisposed to secure dangerous animals.
Owen Thompson, Belleair Beach
Woman survives snack attack | Sept. 26
Crawling can be problem
The article was well-written but lacks emphasis on an important point: The victim was crawling on her hands and knees when the alligator lunged out of the water and grabbed her. For a gator to come ashore and grab a human is a very rare event, but by crawling, the victim placed herself in the category of a four-footed animal such as a dog or deer, both of which are favorite entrees for gators.
This might be important to remember when children are playing near the water.
Bill Edmonds, St. Petersburg
Party bus has its cat, mouse | Sept. 30, story
Do your job
The rise of party buses as a means of transportation to high school dances and the accompanying problems offer yet another example of parents relegating their responsibilities to someone else.
These parents foolishly think that "drinking and riding" is somehow safer than "drinking and driving." True, the citizens don't have to worry about being killed by a drunken high school student riding a party bus, but evidently these parents assume that a vehicle called a "party bus" isn't really a party.
Parents, if your kids end up in the emergency room does it really matter how they got there? Take responsibility, please.
Ed Peters, St. Petersburg