Focus on the fuel of the future: hydrogen
I was dismayed when President Bush recently visited Saudi Arabia and, with hat in hand, pleaded with the Saudis to significantly increase their oil production in order to help lower the price of gasoline and diesel fuel here at home. Insult was added to injury when the Saudis essentially told our president to take a hike.
Increasing oil production may help the "supply side" of the law of supply and demand, but it is at best temporary and short-sighted. We need to work the "demand side" of the equation, by not only finding ways to immediately decrease our consumption but by also developing a long-term fuel alternative that doesn't create unintended consequences, e.g., increasing the cost of foods by diverting food stocks to ethanol production.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy successfully motivated this nation and its industries by setting a national priority to "place a man on the moon within 10 years." We now need to motivate our elected officials to set a similar national priority to develop the infrastructure for manufacturing and distributing hydrogen as an automotive fuel. I'm not too concerned about the auto industry rising to the occasion, as hydrogen-fuel technology already exists. Both General Motors and Honda (and probably others as well) have working models on the road right now. Honda announced last week that its hydrogen-powered auto reached 99 miles per hour in recent tests!
Unlike current automotive fuels, hydrogen has an essentially unlimited supply and, when burned, produces only heat and water as exhaust products, not bad side effects!
We as a nation need to wake up to the fact that this planet is not making any more oil and that economy cannot withstand where the price of oil is heading. Let's get on with a fuel program that makes long-term sense.
Jerry Rigby, St. Petersburg
Let's drill our way to
We keep hearing that we, the people, don't want more drilling for oil in the United States. Who is being asked?
If you took an honest poll, among everyday, ordinary people, I think you would hear differently. We need to tap our own resources, for the good of the average American citizen and the future of our country. We know we cannot do it overnight, but we have to start somewhere and soon.
We need to drill, drill, drill. We need to build more refineries. We need to become energy independent using our own resources. Would this not help the economy and open the door for employment opportunities throughout the country? We should have done this a long time ago. Why didn't we?
This country was founded by people who were willing to make sacrifices, people who knew it would not be easy, but they spoke up and moved forward. We must do the same. We cannot sit back and watch the price of oil go up and up, along with the price of everything it touches.
It's up to us (our United States) to become, once again, independent.
Ceil McCabe, Dunedin
Go green, save the economy
Let me begin by saying we all need to conserve on oil products. But if the oil companies think they can go as high as they want without the price affecting the economy, then they are dead wrong. Everything that is connected to oil goes up, which means eventually fewer products will be sold, which will result in fewer jobs.
The government needs to give a 50 percent tax credit on solar water heaters and a 50 percent tax credit on the purchase of all new cars that get 30 mpg or more in town.
Our politicians are not the least bit interested in putting a tax on oil and using it to help fund production of energy that is not oil-based. Even the wealthy need to wise up. Inflation is just around the corner. We need to create a complete new industry based on saving energy. That would make jobs for people and make us less dependent on others for energy.
Andrew Harbuck, Largo
Saudis reject Bush bid for U.S. pump relief
May 17, story
With friends like these …
Well looks like Saudi Arabia gave us another hand shake with a dagger in the back. On Friday, President Bush appealed to its leader, King Abdullah, for an increase in oil production to ease our skyrocketing gasoline prices and was told, "No." All Bush could do was smile for the camera with Abdullah as if it were a family portrait. Perhaps a frown would have been more appropriate.
It is mind-boggling that this leader, in a region of turmoil, would be so arrogant as to say no to its steadfast protector, the United States. Wasn't it Saudi Arabia that asked us for protection after the invasion of Kuwait? Maybe it is time to let Saudi Arabia know that the next time they call the presidential hotline, they just may hear a busy signal.
If we applied good old American know-how to alternative energy sources, my feeling is that OPEC would be begging us to buy their oil at any price.
John Botelho, New Port Richey
Our deadly diet
In the past month several articles have appeared in your paper regarding the addition of sugar to our food. On Tuesday you printed graphic pictures and a description of the physical toll obesity plays on the young, growing human body.
If childhood obesity were given the same status as child pornography it would be a punishable offense to feed junk to little children. Junk food would have the same status as crack cocaine.
The sad truth is so many adults are habituated, too, hence nothing is happening. We blame our kids for eating when in fact most of the food we all eat is made up of processed, refined carbohydrates, and like the unlucky person who starts drinking or smoking, some of us get hooked. We add sugar to baby formula, to french fries, to almost everything off the assembly line.
Why? Well, because the food industry wants us to come back for more. Even the "organic" manufactures know our weakness. Please wake up. Food addiction is real. The desire to eat to the point of morbid obesity is because of addiction to the refined carbs. Until you understand that mind-body connection, getting it under control is like telling the drug addict to just cut down. We know that does not work. It is much more complex than calories in and calories out.
Let's be responsible, people. Face our demons, change our diet, save our children.
Rita Sewell, St. Petersburg
Thanks to bailiffs
On behalf of the St. Petersburg Bar Association and in my capacity as president, I would like to take a moment to remember, honor and praise the bailiffs who serve and protect us at the Pinellas County courthouses.
After the shocking event on May 7, I was reminded of what skill, patience and control they must maintain at all times. On the one hand, they must be alert, ready to protect and, at the same time, make sure that the lives of innocent bystanders are not at risk. May 7 was a reminder to us all of the difficult decisions each bailiff must make to protect all of us.
Let us all pause for a word of thanks. And when you see bailiffs hard at work, please do not forget to remind them how much we appreciate them.
Camille J. Iurillo, president, St. Petersburg Bar Association, St. Petersburg