Death tied to diaper change | Aug. 12
Knowing caregiver is vital
The truth about babies: They cry. A lot. They cry when they are wet or poopy. They cry if they are hungry or gassy. If they are hot or cold. If it is too dark or too bright. For no obvious reason. Babies can cry for hours a day. And it is normal. It's pre-talking. Through crying, babies express fear, discomfort, pain, loneliness and anger. Babies strengthen their lungs by using them. When babies don't cry, doctors worry.
Babies can be kind of gross. When they get changed, they often release urine or stool in the process. Sometimes it gets on everything around them, including the person changing them.
Taking care of a baby is hard work, even for loving and deeply attached parents. But when a caregiver is not biologically connected to the baby, hasn't been there since the birth and is only recently in the child's life, that attachment is fragile. And the outcome can be catastrophic.
Very few people, male or female, will intentionally injure a baby. But when a person with minimal connection to the child is in charge for many hours in a tiny space with nowhere to go and no other help, the conditions are ripe for disaster.
To single parents who must work and are living on the edge of homelessness, child care is a necessity. Someone to watch the kids during a work shift can be the difference between dinner or hunger — for the children. It is essential for a parent to know who is really watching their child.
Before leaving your child with anyone, know something about their background and parenting skills. Pay attention to how they relate to other people in their life. Watch how they handle your child's difficult behavior — when you are present. Because the danger is real that a single work shift could mean death to a child.
More important, our society needs to find a bridge to span this gap.
We need reasonably priced and safe child care for low-income families — to avoid the desperate measures that cost a little boy his life and a loving mother her son.
Juliana Menke, St. Petersburg
Duke eager to build, not buy, plants | Aug. 10
The new robber barons
Duke Energy just posted a jump in profits of 80 percent for the second quarter in part because of higher power prices. Yet our PSC — which stands for Profits Secured for your cash Commission — is still allowed to do as it pleases.
I believe that it is time to replace all of these so-called PSC commissioners with people who care about Florida ratepayers instead of giant corporations.
Also, why is Duke Energy allowed to continue to make a profit for a nuclear power plant that had botched repairs and another that will never be built? Stop the profit robbery already!
Daniel Torony, Port Richey
Heroes don't get coverage
The death of Robin Williams is truly a great loss. Why, though, does this death of a celebrity make front-page news two days in a row? The deaths of our military personnel rarely are published, and when they are it is in a small paragraph on the fourth page. My concern is the press' overreporting of this event just instills further proof that Americans think celebrities are held in higher regard than the true heroes of today.
This is a sad commentary of how most Americans think.
Linda Cockerham, Apollo Beach
Welcome of migrants sends good message Aug. 8
Bishop doing the right thing
Catholic social teaching dates in recent times to the encyclical letters of Pope Leo XIII in the 19th century. All peoples of the world belong to the same human family. We are urged by our Scriptures to be our "brothers' keepers." Even though we are separated by distance, language and cultures, the mandate from Genesis stands.
Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg's moral voice calls us to action to assist the migrant children pouring across our southern borders. The principle of solidarity teaches that we should welcome the strangers among us. Congress' failure to act is a travesty.
As for the Americans who believe that this law-breaking should not be tolerated and these migrants must be deported, I doubt these children think they are breaking the law. These children were sent on a long, arduous journey by their parents in a last, desperate attempt to save their lives. They are not responsible for all of this, because they are children. The bishop understands this, and he has set his sights on making these young lives livable while their destinies are determined. Somebody has to stand up for social justice.
Florence Laureira, Hudson
Atheist's call for moment of silence is historic appeal | Aug. 8
If an atheist gives an invocation, what does he invoke?
Here's the simple answer. Invocations are petitions directed to whatever "higher power" the petitioner believes is positioned to help the deliberative body achieve decisions superior to those that would be reached without such assistance.
Because atheists aren't superstitious, they address their invocations to what they know to be the only power higher than themselves: the collective power of the people, of mankind, the collective power of the very folks seated before them and around them listening to their invocation and making those decisions. Those people, all people, have the power within themselves, individually and collectively, to make better decisions, to be thoughtful, to be wise, to be kind, to be generous, to be circumspect, to be fair, and to follow the golden rule
Bud Tritschler, Clearwater
Congress passes VA bill | Aug. 2
Any reward is too much
A careful reading of the summary of what's in the new VA law shows that funding for annual bonuses for employees has been cut from $400 million to $360 million.
So the outstanding and obviously efficient administrators who made such a mess of the VA are now expected to survive on bonuses cut 10 percent? Wow.
Kenn Sidorewich, Oldsmar