Celebrate July 4th holiday safely
As much as we like to celebrate our freedoms with consumer fireworks, we must be mindful of safety, especially in dry conditions.
• Fireworks should be handled and fired only by sober adults.
• The shooting site should ideally be concrete, asphalt or dirt — a surface that will not burn.
• Make sure all combustible grass, dry leaves and brush are cleaned from the launch area and in any areas along the flight trajectory or in the fallout zone.
• The launch area should be watered down before fireworks are ignited to ensure that inadvertent sparks do not catch the area on fire.
• An adult should be identified as the fireman, whose job is to have a ready source of water available (a connected hose is best) and to watch the fireworks to make sure they come down cold and do not ignite any grass or brush fires.
Fireworks can provide wonderful family entertainment, but only if used properly and according to good, commonsense protocols. Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday and use all appropriate safety precautions when using consumer fireworks.
Bill Weimer, vice president, Phantom Fireworks, Youngstown, Ohio
Addiction to spending
With all the talk about whether or not Congress will raise the cap on the national debt, I say this is a nonissue. The talk we're hearing from Washington is nothing more than political posturing.
Does anyone really think Congress will fail to raise the debt ceiling and cut off its source of spending money? Throwing away money is the only thing Congress is capable of doing. Don't worry: Members won't limit their ability to continue doing it.
Alfred T. Barnard, Beverly Hills
Putting off tough choices
What is the purpose for having a debt limit if we are going to increase it every time we reach it?
Raising the debt limit is merely a tool that politicians employ in order to avoid making difficult and unpopular decisions. When they do speak of reducing spending, the reduction is always to occur sometime in the future — never in the present.
There have been countless courageous men and women who have sacrificed to make our country the envy of people around the world. It is time for politicians of both parties show a little courage by bringing our spending under control.
R.J. McDarby, Valrico
The government is not going broke because our taxes are so low. It is because it spends too much. If my finances were as bad as the federal government, I could not get a loan anywhere. Soon our government won't be able to either.
Raising taxes for the rich is akin to the Robin Hood fable. It is stealing through redistribution of wealth through taxation and is unconstitutional.
Paula Kelly, Dunedin
Doctor says conviction saved him | June 26
Timely, expert diagnosis
Thank you for telling Dr. Kevin Denny's story honestly and without editorial comment. By his own admission, Denny is responsible for all of his problems including drug and alcohol abuse plus the loss of his medical license, his practice and the trust placed in him by his colleagues in the medical profession. He asks for no sympathy.
That said, allow me a personal aside. Throughout Denny's trip down the rabbit hole of drug and alcohol abuse, he was my primary care physician. During this time I had what would be considered a minor medical annoyance. The doctor's ability as a diagnostician took him past the obvious to a far more serious and potentially fatal medical situation. It was explained to me that, had this problem been left unattended, the result could have been a painful trip across the River Styx. Plainly put, I owe this man my life, and for this I'll be always grateful.
Kevin Denny is paying his debt to society and has lost the license to practice medicine. However, if he were ever allowed to resume the practice of medicine, I would be the first at his door to be accepted as a patient.
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Diaper leads to airport patdown | June 28
Sign of the times
At first thought, the patdown of the 95-year-old woman might seem offensive. But on second thought, knowing that terrorists use children as suicide bombers and have put explosives in shoes and underwear, it seems a reasonable thing to have done.
The sad thing is that this is where our world has evolved to.
Bobbye Blackburn, Clearwater
An outrageous search
Recently, the Transportation Security Administration had a 95-year-old woman remove her diaper. It is difficult to understand how we have allowed the federal government to conduct such outrageous acts against law-abiding citizens.
It is a disgrace and clearly points to a need for a third party to right our ship of state. Clearly, the current crop of elected officials are the problem, not the solution.
Andrew F. Tangeman, Palm Harbor
Lifesaving sanctuary for manatees June 27, editorial
Pity the poor manatee
It's too bad the poor old manatee is not on a most desirable species list for sport hunting, spearfishing, and other jabbers and stabbers. There might then be some serious concern for its safety and management if it had a bag limit placed on its head. The poor aquatic creature is just not macho enough, like the alligator; it catches flak from all sides.
A useless dam blocking his way to the warm springs of the Rainbow River cuts off even his old winter stomping grounds up the Withlacoochee. If you float the Rainbow, look for the sign on the bank that reads, "Watch out for the Manatees." You may watch until your eyes glaze over.
This is almost as ridiculous as some who squawk that manatee poop violates the "pristine" waters of Kings Bay. Manatees were visiting Kings Bay before the Spanish discovered it. The poor animal is only processing vegetation as a food source and breaking it down and storing it as fat reserves for future hard times. This happens within the aquatic environment of the bay and in no way compares, as some have implied, to cow pile production on land upstream.
Poor zoning and overdevelopment is the culprit.
Harold T. Sansing, Dunnellon