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Seniors need cost-of-living benefits increases

Give seniors raise for cost of living

I have just received my Social Security check and there was no cost-of-living adjustment. I also received my disability check and, again, no cost of living. Pasco County seniors need that money. We don't work anymore, but prices keep climbing while product sizes shrink. It means we have to buy more each month.

Government gives away billions to other countries, not for the military, which I and all vets are for, but $300 million to set up fair elections? It is a complete sham.

The TARP is being paid back. Markets are up. Auto companies are holding their own. What about the American people, whose money it is? Congress has turned its back on us. I think many of the perks Congress gets should be taken away.

Stop giving our money away. Please, think of us.

Joseph Kuhn, New Port Richey

We need universal health care | Dec. 20 guest column

Doctor reluctant to buck status quo

Dr. Marc Yacht's guest editorial recently in the St. Petersburg Times on his advocacy of a universal health plan was very disappointing.

While I, too, support the implementation of a health system for the nation, I would take it one step further, urging the country to nationalize our system through the government and not continuing its dependency on the private sector, as Yacht prescribes. As our veterans are provided comprehensive health through the Veterans Affairs system, so should everyone who lives in America be served equally.

Yacht may meet all your newspaper criteria for having a credible voice to address the health issue, being both a physician and a former public health official in Pasco County, but his reluctant acceptance of the current health insurance industry, along with adding new national costs for universal care, is, in my mind, a sellout.

Granted, Yacht addressed the problems of the system and the needs of our nation, but he also reluctantly accepted the status quo. His conclusion was that we have to accept how the health insurance system is run, broken as it is; that we have to accept the doctors' and hospitals' and HMOs' costly demands, expensive as they are; and, therefore, that we just have to recognize that it will cost us a lot more money, so people, live with it!

Ugh! It appears that Yacht fears the establishment, is intimidated by its power, despite the wrongness of it, and shows his embrace of the status quo. One would expect that this only reflects on the good doctor's lifelong involvement in government, and, probably, in not rocking the boat.

What is needed is leadership, strong and courageous advocacy, outspokenness for radical change; and physicians and community leaders to lead the way. That posture, despite the writer's good intentions, he did not display.

Brian P. Moore, Spring Hill

Self-defense law needs change | Dec. 30 letter

Issue is not guns but self-defense

It's interesting that letter writer Arthur Hayhoe focuses on guns and the NRA when, in truth, the stand-your-ground law never mentions either one. It is a law primarily designed to redefine the legal parameters of the concept of self-defense.

It is not a gun law. It is a self-defense, self-protection law. It does not make it easier to commit a crime or escape criminal prosecution. It does, however, remove ambiguities regarding self-defense responses to imminent threats to life and property, and removes any legal obligation to retreat from any place a threatened person has a right to be.

The law does not change the legality to "meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." It establishes a legal presumption of the threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle.

Importantly, it provides that any person using any force permitted by the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action. This aspect of the law is a vital component and relieves one who uses legal force in self-defense from the crippling expenses and emotional turmoil of defending himself or herself from a perfectly legal and justifiable action (self-defense).

The law is not as jury-excluding as the letter states. For example, a Hudson man was recently acquitted by a jury of aggravated battery using a stand-your-ground defense, and in another case, a Pasco judge and an appeals court have ordered a trial to decide the same immunity issue involving a second-degree murder charge.

Firearms were never an issue in the Fahrer case. Prosecutors examined the facts, reportedly, and found there was no basis for a court action, and declined to prosecute because there was no evidence whatsoever to support a prosecution and no reason to doubt her story. Case closed.

The letter's assertions about the NRA are absurd. The only issue is self-defense, in a legislatively successful effort to create a fair balance of justice on behalf all citizens forced to face the realities of self-defense.

Lee Hanson, Hudson

Seniors need cost-of-living benefits increases 01/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 5:48pm]
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