Rules stymie tapping into garbage power | Dec. 20
Grab for riches hurts public good
This article reveals how public good is subservient to the pursuit of excessive wealth.
TECO refuses to let the county rent their power lines while TECO buys the county's electricity and sells it back for three times as much. Monopolizing on the local supply of such an important resource, TECO can not only push around their customers but their customers' government as well.
They tell me it's socialist when important industries like the power company are owned by the government, and that socialism is bad. They say that the socialists' universal health care is bad too — private companies should run the show.
It is time to drop the ideological games. Either you believe that a minority of the population — who are unelected and only concerned with profit — should hold more influence and power than our elected government, or you think we should be able to do what works and what makes sense for everyone else too.
Justin Rivera, Tampa
Could control of dogs echo gun laws? Dec. 20
Guns are only tools;
how they're used is the key
I might concede that gun owners are a bit paranoid, but we see red whenever the words "gun control" are used. Not because we spend too much time watching Westerns, but because we genuinely fear the loss of our Second Amendment rights — rights that we feel were elemental in the formation and preservation of the United States of America.
That being said, I take exception to the comparison between gun control and dog control. It's like comparing apples and oranges. I contend it's just another ploy to extend the message that legal guns are bad and more gun control is good.
A more relevant comparison would be between dogs and automobiles. The numbers would undoubtedly show that automobiles are responsible for a far larger number of children ages 14 and under who die annually from car crashes. Yet we hear no public outcry and read no newspaper headlines calling for more or stricter car laws.
In the film Shane, Alan Ladd said, "A gun is a tool ... no better or no worse than any other tool when used properly." The same can be said for automobiles and, perhaps, dogs. The problem is, we are all too eager to play the blame game.
The only way to prevent abuse is to have one police officer for every person who owns a dog, a gun or a car, and that's not possible. The answer is that people need to take responsibility for their own dogs, their own cars and their own legal guns. We already have enough laws that cannot be practically enforced.
Let's not forget what the Prohibition years did to our country: an increase in crime and senseless killings brought on by do-gooders who were convinced that they knew what was best for America. Cherish the Constitution and Bill of Rights as did those who have died fighting to preserve them. To do anything else is change we don't need.
Everett Melnick, St. Petersburg
Too few have too much
While we continue spending billions trying to convert Third World countries to democracy, our own democracy is slipping away.
We are fast becoming a plutocracy, ruled by the wealthy. When 1 percent of the population has one-third of the wealth in the United States, and the top 10 percent have 71 percent of the wealth, there isn't much left for the other 90 percent. This explains why something as important as health care can be watered down to favor the insurance companies. The rich and powerful of the insurance companies control Congress.
I don't know a way of fighting this as long as the voters keep supporting their congressmen who don't support them.
M. Leslie Nichols, Safety Harbor
Numbers don't add up
I can only conclude that anyone who supports the Senate Obama Care bill is incapable of understanding what it will do to the quality of their health care.
Let's forget that it is 2,000 pages.
Let's ignore that it is going to cost upwards of $2 trillion.
Let's forget the sweetheart deals Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson got.
Rather, let's just stick to simple math.
Today we have a finite number of doctors. With this proposed legislation, we will be throwing 30 million more people into the health care system without any additional doctors who, in a lot of cities, are already at a shortage.
Who will give these people health care? How long do you plan to wait for treatment, assuming you can get an appointment?
With Medicare/Medicaid cuts also promised in the bill, how many doctors will flee those plans knowing they'll not get paid for services?
Of course, none of our elected representatives have to deal with this because they have sweetheart medical plans exempt from this legislation and paid for by you and me. Republicans tried to get inserted into the bill an amendment to force Congress to abide by this legislation, but Democrats defeated it.
It would be nice if Democrats could throw their partisanship aside and ask themselves, "Do I really want to support a bill that will put not only myself but my children and grandchildren at risk? Do I really want to destroy the economy and greatness of the United States by mandating expenditures we have no money to pay for?"
But I suspect they won't. This is all about control .... at any cost.
Vilmar Tavares, Spring Hill
Formula for defeat | Dec. 8, letter
Global leadership needed
Where has the writer of this letter been for the last eight years? Under the umbrella of Operation Enduring Freedom, the war in Afghanistan commenced on Oct. 7, 2001. On the same day, President George W. Bush told the country that the objective in Afghanistan was the capture of al-Qaida leaders and the destruction of terrorist operations.
Now more than eight years later, President Barack Obama, in an effort to satisfy a broad range of Americans, is launching a carefully planned surge in Afghanistan designed to place the local government in control of the country. Ultimately, any date to achieve this goal is likely to fail, and we may be headed for a long-term engagement in Afghanistan, costing more money and, more critically, lives.
With the exception of a few countries, among them Germany, Austria and Japan, democracy imposed on a nation through war has failed in modern history, and Afghanistan will likely remain an unstable country with or without our help. With an equally unstable Pakistan next door — a country with nuclear weapons — Afghanistan remains a difficult foreign policy issue for America.
America needs to continue to play a visible and positive role on the global political scene, and Obama has begun taking this country in that direction. I think we need to make this effort in Afghanistan to maintain our national security and our global leadership role.
Gerard Meyn, Dunnellon
A fearful price | Dec. 9, Bob Herbert column
Bring the troops home
I agree with Bob Herbert, with a couple of exceptions. He states, "For the most part Americans do not really care about the men and women we so blithely ship off to war, and the families they leave behind." Later in his article he states, "If voters had to choose right now between instituting a draft or exiting Afghanistan and Iraq, the troops would be out of those two countries in a heartbeat." This second statement tells me that Americans deeply care about what is happening to our troops in those countries and would certainly do something about it if given a choice.
In the same day's paper we read a statement from the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, that his country won't be able to afford the kind of security forces it needs on its own for at least 15 years. Our president says we will start withdrawing troops in 2011. Why are we wasting our resources and American lives on a lost cause?
Another article in the same paper, headlined Bombs pummel Baghdad, was about explosions at government sites that killed 127 people.
I think it's time we got our heads out of the sand and brought our troops home. Let's get them home and put them to work securing our borders and quit sacrificing lives on a lost cause.
Daniel Ward, Zephyrhills