Barton should apologize to us
In June, U.S. Rep Joe Barton, R-Texas, issued an apology to Tony Hayward, the CEO of British Petroleum, at a congressional hearing regarding the BP oil spill in the gulf and the company's subsequent agreement with the president to set up a $20 billion fund to make those affected by the spill whole again.
Barton said: "I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown. In this case a $20 billion shakedown." He went on to say: "I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize again."
Well Mr. Barton, I get it, and thousands of my fellow working Americans are getting it, right in their pocketbooks. Since you issued that heartfelt apology to one of the world's richest entities, the price of the product they dispense to the American public has risen over 50 cents a gallon. With approximately 160,000 motor powered vehicles in Hernando County, and each vehicle consuming only an average of 10 gallons of fuel each month, that's an $800,000 drain each month on Hernando County workers, their families and their community.
There are 3,140 counties and parishes across the United States, and using Hernando County as the median, Joe Barton's apology is costing the American consumer more than $2.5 billion a month. Mr. Barton, may I respectfully suggest that working Americans can't afford any more of your apologies? Unless, of course, you would consider manning up and apologizing for the subsequent financial shakedown that I and my fellow Hernando County neighbors have suffered.
While you're at it, you may want to include working Americans all across the United States. In case you haven't noticed, they're hurting. Be careful what you're voting for, you just might get it.
James Gries, Weeki Wachee
Will cooler school heads prevail?
So School Board member Dianne Bonfield wants to fire three Challenger K-8 employees due to policy violations? Let's hope that the firings take as long as the School Board took to dump ex-superintendent Wayne Alexander. That should give the employees two years to find a new job.
Diane, Wayne called to say thanks for your staunch, up-to-the-last-minute support of him during his tenure in Hernando County. He also mentioned that his heavy-handed approach to personnel management doesn't work.
Kudos to Bryan Blavatt and cooler heads.
Kenneth T. Hammett, Spring Hill
Merry Christmas from Christians
Merry Christmas to our non-Christian friends. On behalf of the Christian community, may I express the joy of the season to those who may have a different belief or none at all.
Please don't take offense should you be greeted with a "Merry Christmas." This isn't expressed to denigrate any religion or religious belief. Nor is it an attempt to proselyte or convert another to our way of believing. This is simply us wanting to pass on to you the joy that we have within.
You see, my friends, for the Christian this is a wonderful time for celebration and hope. Sure we celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ and his birth and our hope is in him. But our celebration transcends any theological position. We also celebrate you. We celebrate that you are a part of us who make up the diverse fabric of this great nation not unlike the various threads that intertwine to create a beautiful tapestry. Your contribution and participation in keeping our country free and contributing to the American dream is deeply shared and appreciated. And we thank you.
We share a hope for a prosperous and blessed future for all of as we enter the next year knowing that it will take all peoples, Christians and non-Christians alike, striving together to achieve these. So to our non-Christian friends, when you hear "Merry Christmas" know that you are loved, appreciated and part of the greater good of a broad but inter-connected community that will defend the right to believe as we choose. Merry Christmas indeed!
Chuck Fightmaster, senior pastor, the Bridge Christian Life Center, Spring Hill
Kudos to Judge Jack Springstead
Thank you to retired Judge Jack Springstead for the qualities he possessed in making decisions on those who had to be sentenced. His decisions were done with a good mind, but also by a humanitarian who is honest and loyal. I don't think anyone could change your answer. Every judge who takes this oath has a conscience and to live and retire with this is his greatest victory.
Kudos to the loving wife who stood beside you and happy retirement.
Marie Morrell, Spring Hill