Fla. to sue over VA 'stonewalling' | May 29
Scott should tend to his own job
Gov. Rick Scott having the state of Florida sue the VA so he can send in state inspectors is ludicrous in the extreme. For the past 10 years I have received almost all of my health care at the VA, and I consider it world-class care. I would much rather deal with the VA than with a bunch of bean counters at a private health insurance company. I am facing two surgeries and I have no anxiety about the care I will receive.
Scott is in charge of Florida's Department of Children and Families, and according to the Miami Herald and this paper, 478 children have died in the past five years, all of whom had some relationship to the DCF. I retired from the Hillsborough County Department of Children's Services and I have some idea of how overworked, underpaid and demoralized DCF employees are. So my advice to Scott is to repair his own department and quit wasting taxpayers' money on frivolous lawsuits.
The best thing that could happen to the VA is for this country to stop fighting unending and unwinnable wars.
John Burrell, Tampa
EPA targets utilities in rule | June 3
Climate change already taking a toll on our health
I am encouraged to see the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed carbon rules to address climate change, which I view as the greatest challenge of our lifetime. Climate change is not some distant problem. It is affecting us right now.
I know I'm not the only one who suffered with chronic allergies this season. Research shows a link between warming temperatures and a longer ragweed pollen season. Allergies and allergy-driven asthma cost the United States an estimated $32 billion every year. The cost of climate change is real.
My utility company, TECO, generates 60 percent of its electricity from dirty coal. I was disappointed but not surprised to see TECO complaining about the new rule. Instead of bad-mouthing a rule intended to protect public health, the company should innovate. I am a subscriber to TECO's "Renewable Energy" block program. I'd like to see that program expanded. Also, more can be done on efficiency.
Utilities in 20 states capture at least five times as much energy efficiency as TECO. I know Tampa Electric can do better.
Melissa Baldwin, Riverview
Sharpen scrutiny on General Motors June 9, editorial
Time for this CEO to go
Mary Barra was selected chief executive of GM because of her deep knowledge of the organization. One must question this in light of her saying she was completely out of the loop concerning the company's ongoing quality problems. Even now, she clearly doesn't recognize the scope of what has happened.
Commenting on GM's internal report, she is quoted as saying, "We failed these customers. We must face up to it and learn from it." In the real world, "failing" a customer is what happens when the clerk at Burger King mixes up an order. GM's mistakes resulted in people's deaths.
Surely it's time for Barra to move on and, like Eric Shinseki, spend more time with the family.
Frank McKinney, St. Petersburg
High standards agenda | June 8, letter
Learning starts in the home
This letter doesn't say which adults are to be held accountable. However, usually this means the classroom teacher (even if the child isn't in the class), the school principal, the superintendent of schools, sometimes even the school board.
Where and when are the parents held accountable?
Young children imitate their parents. If children see their parents reading, children will want to read. If a child's parents show interest in the child's schoolwork and praise good work, the child will want to do good work.
The parent needs to be accountable for the child's readiness to arrive at school prepared to study and prepared to learn.
Barbara M. Rowell, St. Petersburg
Legal medicines also carry risks June 11, letter
Medical relief within reach
I am a Crohn's disease sufferer. Although I have a mild case, the inflammation is a grave concern for me. I am looking forward to Amendment 2 passing in November so I can take edible, low-THC strains of marijuana to ease this condition.
The prescription drugs that are effective against the inflammation caused by this disease carry risks too grave for me to even consider them. Because the drugs are immune blockers, patients are at risk from infections such as tuberculosis, possibly fatal cancers such as lymphoma, and other conditions resulting from a reduced immune system.
I do not believe medical marijuana carries any of these risks. And I do not understand why there is so much negativity toward this amendment. The rewards are there, with low risk.
Larry Molter, Tampa
A soldier's story still in search of an ending June 11, commentary
Bringing them back
A credo of the U.S. military is, "We leave no one behind." What this says to our current and future men and women in uniform (and their families) is: "If you are captured, we will do whatever we can to get you back, period." Logic would say that critics of the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deal cannot have it both ways. To wit, they essentially have two choices:
First, change and communicate to our current and future servicemen and women a revised military credo that would include their stated caveats. For example: If you are captured, we will do whatever we can to get you back, unless: (a) we think you were a deserter; (b) a swap is offered by terrorists; (c) we think we aren't being offered a good deal, and/or (d) American soldiers already lost their lives looking for you.
Alternatively, the critics can respect the fact that President Barack Obama did what he could to get Bergdahl back and let it go.
If the president had not accepted this exchange deal from the Taliban, would the anti-Obama pundits and members of Congress bash him for not bringing home an American soldier when he could have?
William G. Emener, St. Pete Beach