The fight to protect Florida waters | Nov. 9, commentaries
Limit fertilizers, save our waters
We can no longer afford to ignore the declining health of Florida's waterways, evidenced by the algae blooms everywhere — from retention ponds, to lakes, to our bays.
And since state and county officials to this day haven't had the political will to effectively curtail the excessive use of fertilizer by business owners, property owners and landscapers, the EPA has agreed to set limits on nutrient pollution.
In his column, state Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson came out with a litany of excuses as to why we should maintain the status quo, claiming that the EPA would impose arbitrary regulatory action that would be too costly to polluters. I'm not buying it. They've had it too easy for too long.
If regulating/reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus allowed to enter our waterways is what's needed to make them healthy and bring them back to life, I'm all for it.
We can all do our part to reduce harmful fertilizer runoff. Read labels and don't overapply. Don't apply fertilizer during the rainy season since it tends to wash off your lawn and into storm water drains. Add more native plants to your landscape, reducing the need for fertilizer. When you do fertilize your lawn or plants, use a time-release formula. And support local government efforts to pass fertilizer ordinances.
Florida is naturally beautiful. Let's keep it that way.
Beverly Griffiths, Riverview
History of service for Muslims in military Nov. 12, story
'Backlash' not a bad word
Susan Taylor Martin seems dismayed that there would actually be a "backlash" against Muslims due to the Fort Hood massacre. In the real world that exists outside of the squishy realm of political correctness, "backlash" is a common occurrence. My dictionary defines "backlash" as "response to the originator of an undesirable action." More often than not, those associated with the perpetrator will be tainted by his or her actions. "Backlash" is a normal defensive human emotion that seeks to subdue extreme threats to society at large. Sometimes it is justified, sometimes not. But "backlash" is normal and necessary to alert all to the possibility of further danger. A lack of "backlash" is simply naivete, or willful ignorance.
Richard Scott, Clearwater
Let nurse practitioners help
Advanced registered nurse practitioners can help to stop the suffering of millions of uninsured patients in Florida, but they must be allowed to prescribe controlled substances.
ARNPs will testify that they have had to send patients to emergency rooms on many occasions for common medications such as cough medicine with codeine, seizure medications, medicine to stop diarrhea and simple pain medicine for toothaches. Many of these patients go to free clinics or community health clinics that are heavily staffed by ARNPs. These patients do not have access to health insurance. They cannot afford to go to the emergency room to get medications, and they cannot afford to pay for physician visits.
When patients are forced to go to the ER for necessary medical care, costs are driven up and all Floridians wind up paying. ARNPs are available to immediately meet the needs of our medically underserved and disenfranchised Floridians, and to expand the health care delivery capability of the state. Allowing ARNPs to practice at their full level of education and clinical training is cost-effective, as it adds no costs to our state budget and will have immediate impact by decreasing emergency room visits.
It is time to stop the suffering of millions who are out of work and uninsured. It is time for the Florida Legislature to lift the ban against ARNPs from prescribing controlled substances.
Dr. Anna Allen, DNP, ARNP, Tampa
A clash of cultures
My wife and I recently returned from a cruise to the Mediterranean. On board were people from many other countries. On most evenings, we dined with my sister and her husband at a four-place table. When there were no remaining small tables, we would join others at an eight-seat table. These occasions were very enjoyable since the travelers were from many different cultures. It was a unique gathering and the subjects were interesting.
On one evening, the subject turned to health care. After some discussion, a woman from Australia, traveling with her physician husband, turned to me and bluntly stated, "I would be embarrassed to tell anyone that I lived in a civilized country that did not have universal health care."
The table became immediately quiet.
Mitch Kanaan, St. Petersburg
Officers target black customer | Nov. 13, story
Police have a difficult job
It is upsetting that a story like this even gets press space. The job of our law enforcement agencies is extremely difficult. They have to make decisions that protect the lives of all in the blink of an eye.
Sometimes, in the interest of protecting others, innocent folks are mistaken for criminals. Why is it that the race card is always thought to be the issue?
I am 47 years old and white. I have been stopped at airports, interrogated and my entire luggage searched. I have been stopped while walking my dog and interrogated because I fit the description of a suspected criminal. Did I complain? No.
Our law enforcement folks are trying to protect the general public. Sometimes it causes us all some inconveniences, but it is best for the masses.
In these times of uncertainty, I would prefer that our law enforcement make every attempt to protect us, even sometimes at my inconvenience.
Rob Forte, Palm Harbor
Responses to Paul Krugman's column | Nov. 12, letters
Irrational behavior indeed
If "conservative concerned citizens" are unhappy with their portrayal as "irrational," perhaps they should take a look in the mirror. It's one thing to oppose government spending and intervention in (tragically broken, at least for the moment) markets, but quite another to suggest that they — and not their opponents — are fighting to protect the Constitution and Americans' civil liberties.
If that were the case, they could take their arguments to the courts, right up to the U.S. Supreme Court, to affirm their position. They have not chosen this path, however, because, starting from our nation's founding, our courts have consistently ruled that our federal government has great discretion in how it acts to "promote the general welfare."
Simply put, what this means is that health care reform, however it may be arranged up to and including "socialized medicine," economic stimulus programs and the like are all fully constitutional and legally appropriate governmental actions under federal law.
In their zeal, these activists are confusing a policy argument with a constitutional argument, and they have taken the divisive and dishonest step of declaring those who disagree with them as foes of the Constitution and therefore dangerous. Is it any wonder they are perceived as irrational?
L.E. Brinkley, St. Petersburg
Guns and adoptive parents
The recent controversy surrounding the NRA's desire to keep interviewers from knowing if potential adoptive parents are keeping guns in the house reminded me of something that happened when I was press secretary for the speaker of the House of the Florida Legislature a few years ago.
I was new to the political scene, and happened to be on the floor of the Legislature on other business when I discovered a bill was being proposed — backed heavily by the NRA — to ban pawn shop owners from keeping any records of anyone who bought a gun in a pawn shop. I was thoroughly entertained by the twisted logic used by "law-and-order" Republicans who tried to defend such a bizarre piece of legislation to law enforcement.
It will be a sad day for Florida's children if adoption agency interviewers are banned from asking if there are guns in the house. But I confess I will enjoy watching NRA-backed politicians squirm as they try to explain to people with common sense that this is somehow a good idea.
Tom Denham, Palm Harbor