Nurses protest over staffing concerns | Oct. 19
Understaffing hurts care of aged
I was glad to see this article about nurses demonstrating at Largo Medical Center. Unfortunately, I had to work or I would have joined them to show solidarity.
I am a nurse. When I worked in the nursing home arena, I quickly saw how understaffed we were. I worked at seven different facilities in Pinellas County, and it was the same, to varying degrees, in each one.
As I practiced my trade, loving and caring for my residents the best I knew how, I watched this get worse. More and more residents were assigned to each nursing assistant and each nurse. Quality of care suffered. Often, if a family member or advocate for the resident doesn't show up to check on them regularly, lack of individual attention becomes the norm.
One facility nurse recently told me she is placed in charge of 40 residents per shift. Sometimes it makes me wonder if we aren't just warehousing elderly and disabled people for the money.
Big Medicine spends lots of money in Tallahassee schmoozing our legislators so they can get laws passed to load more and more patients and residents on nurses and their aides.
I no longer work for a facility, and I am glad of it. I shudder think of being placed in one if I can no longer care of myself.
Nickie McNichols, Clearwater
Small amount; big results
As a young American, I have good reason to be concerned about our country: College students like me will be the next generation of leaders, which means we will also be taking over our national debt. That's why Congress needs to cut the budget, but I want to remind our representatives of the importance of priorities.
As a world leader, the United States helps to save and improve millions of lives around the world every year. Whether it's vaccinating a child against entirely preventable diseases or teaching farmers advanced agriculture techniques to feed their communities, American-led efforts are spearheading the fight against extreme poverty and hunger — especially in Africa — and the success stories are growing.
The most remarkable part is that it doesn't take much — less than 1 percent of our entire federal budget, in fact. Such a small percentage has a huge, lasting impact, with huge potential to do more. That is why we must make sure that in the quest to reduce the deficit, we do not reduce our funding and compassion for the world's poorest.
Mary Kate Clennan, Clearwater
Birthers call out Rubio | Oct. 20
Lack of credibility
Apparently the birthers like to make their own definitions up to fit their conspiracy.
Black's Law Dictionary defines "natural born citizen" as persons who are born within the jurisdiction of a national government, for example Miami or Honolulu. The Black's definition of "citizen" cites applicable case law: U.S. vs. Minoru Yasui and Von Schwerdtner vs. Piper. Natural born does not require parents to be citizens.
By the birthers' standards, the U.S. government needs to redact everything colonial Virginia-born Thomas Jefferson did as president as his mother was an alien born in London. After all, she could have been a British spy!
The birthers continue to demonstrate their lack of credibility. By both legal definition and case law, Marco Rubio, Barack Obama and Thomas Jefferson are all "natural born citizens." The birthers could better serve their fellow citizens by sticking to uncovering aliens in Roswell, N.M.
A.J. Weinert, New Port Richey
The proponents of disqualifying Mark Rubio for the presidency are using tortured logic in claiming that although he was born in this country, he was not "naturally" born here because his parents were not citizens at the time.
If this "logic" were to prevail, we must disqualify many others who were born by Caesarian section.
Donald Barnhill, Trinity
Ignoble end for Gadhafi | Oct. 21
Restraint, caution worked
The death of Moammar Gadhafi is important on several levels. One unusual aspect of the Libyan problem was that the United States consistently resisted taking leadership of the NATO effort to support the rebels. We provided many important assets (drones, intelligence, etc.) but we refrained from dominating the anti-Gadhafi effort.
This restrained, cautious policy of President Barack Obama was criticized by various politicians, particularly Republican candidates calling for the United States to continue the expensive policy of trying to be the policeman for the world.
But Obama's being right in this conflict hardly ends the debate over how activist a foreign policy the United States should have. There will be other temptations to take the leadership role in all sorts of global controversies.
This is the time when we need to move away from the mind-set of seeing Washington as the leader against all global threats. One reason for this is that many other countries have developed an increased willingness and ability to assume important international responsibilities. But another reason is the United States economy. If we truly want to cut government spending, we need to carefully re-evaluate what level of forces we need. Hopefully part of the drive will be to cut the budget cautiously but with a plan in mind.
Michael Francis, Homosassa
It will take millions to create a new university and millions more to fund the ongoing expense of faculty, land and construction. To separate the Lakeland campus from USF to create another stand-alone university, with every dollar stretched and budgets being cut, is a slap in the face to all citizens of Florida. This campus has mostly business majors and no engineering students to speak of.
We have learned to expect less from our state legislators, and state Sen. J.D. Alexander sets a new standard for low just ahead of Ray Sansom, former Florida House speaker, and 1st District Judge Paul Hawkes. In Alexander's position as head of the Senate Budget Committee, he represents all Floridians. His decisions should be in the best interests of the state and not just his personal agenda.
Robert Weisman, Tampa