Gulf oil spill
A treasure is being despoiled
When I was 17 years old, I realized that despite the fact that I had been licensed to drive an automobile in Florida for more than a year, I had more sea miles under me than automotive miles. My highway was the Gulf of Mexico. It is far different from the Pacific or the Atlantic oceans. It is more fragile — think aquarium, maternity ward, translucent, even 200 miles offshore.
Its delicate nature has been raped by foreign people of greed. BP has seen my last dollar, and while I do not intend the lower ranks to lose their jobs, I want to make clear to these rapacious buccaneers that their dirt has come into my kitchen.
I do not care about blowout preventers, safety valves, Transocean finger-pointing or the weasels in Congress. What I care about is my son's chance to know Mama Gulf's unspoiled beauty and bounty. I'll walk if I have to.
Daniel J. Gottsch, Tampa
Protect our bay now
Sooner or later our area will see and feel the effects of all the oil leaking in the gulf.
People talk about our white sand beaches, but I've not heard anyone talk about the effects of the oil getting into Tampa Bay.
This is a nursery for numerous marine species that depend on the sea grasses and mangroves for raising their young.
Why aren't we being more proactive and starting to come up with ways to keep the oil out now instead of waiting for it to get here?
Also I have to wonder with all the ships that come to our port from Texas, are they going around the oil?
Or are they slowing bringing some of it here already?
Rick Bennett, Clearwater
Don't be frightened by risk
To Sen. Bill Nelson: Do not put a halt to our oil drilling and exploration anywhere. If you expect there to be no risk in any venture this country undertakes, then you are not living in the real world.
There are few, if any, risk-free activities on this planet. Perhaps you want drug companies to not release new drugs until they are risk-free. In the advertising for drugs, anywhere from four to 10 side effects are listed. Some even have death as a side effect. Are you going to put a halt on the release of new drugs?
Right now, Cuba, China, Canada, India and Spain are either drilling for oil, or about to start drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. You can't stop them. You can even start a public relations campaign against them. They don't care. It will have no effect. America is the only country that can be intimated by such tactics.
We are the most responsible and safety-conscious country in the world. We need to continue drilling and seeking safer ways to do it. It would be asinine to halt drilling. Additionally, it would be unfair to the citizens of our country not to compete on their behalf for oil. Those who do nothing to avoid risk accomplish nothing.
Bob Romanko, Largo
Remove liability cap
There is much talk lately of raising the cap for oil spill liability, and that would be a good move.
But why should there be any cap at all? The polluter should be liable for every penny of damage — no matter how high that total may climb.
If that means the polluter goes out of business, then that is exactly the message that should be communicated to the entire industry.
John Brockman, Dunedin
A missing faith | May 13, letter
Grin and bear it
The letter writer bemoans the impending absence of a Protestant on the U.S. Supreme Court and wonders "about the reaction from many vocal groups if a large minority was excluded today from the court the way the majority may soon be excluded."
I feel the writer's pain. While I cannot attest to the relative size of the minority I identify with, I can say that there are those of us who subscribe to no religion and would prefer that religion had no place in the decisionmaking process of the courts or government. Fat chance that'll happen.
I suggest that the writer learn to grin and bear it because until we see the first pragmatic agnostic (or another Protestant, in the writer's case) on the court, that's how you get by.
Rob Douglas, St. Petersburg
Others have waited
It has been said that if Elena Kagan is confirmed as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, no Protestant will sit on the court for the first time in history.
The Supreme Court was first called to assemble in 1790. It was not until 1916 that Louis Brandeis was appointed to be the first Jewish member on the court. In 1967, the first African-American, Thurgood Marshall, was seated. Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to be appointed, in 1981.
Now, after a 220-year court history during which an overwhelming majority of justices have been Protestant, we hear complaints concerning a lack of representation of that group, when Jews waited 126 years to be represented, blacks waited 177 years and women waited patiently for some 191 years. Give me a break!
Stephen Feldman, Valrico
What's criminal is what is legal | May 9, Robyn Blumner column
Borrowers deserve blame
Robyn Blumner went into exquisite detail about all of the "capitalist" entities responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis, calling for strong regulation of the banking and financial services industry.
She somehow managed to omit mention of the one group that made the so-called liars loans possible: the borrowers. Without the borrowers' lies about their income, assets, current debt and other financial data, no bad loans would have been made.
The lying borrower was and is the root cause of the problem and should bear the ultimate responsibility.
Whatever happened to the concept of personal accountability?
Stephen Small, Indian Rocks Beach
Lobbyists win, public loses with HB 1565 May 8, editorial
Guardians of liberty
During the latter part of the 19th century, Paris, France, had 37 individual newspapers. Today, in Tampa, we have but two. Newspapers were always the eyes and ears of the public.
Your article on HB 1565 brings home the importance of an informative free press. Nothing else can cut through the complicated, confusing jargon of a political bill like a newspaper.
If we lose our newspapers, we're going to be at the mercy of the party in power, and politicians who can confuse an issue like no one else can. Newspapers are the true guardians of liberty. Their demise would indeed have tragic consequences for our democracy.
Ralph Annan, Hudson
Five bills Crist should veto | May 9
A questionable right
The Times editorial last Sunday recommends Gov. Charlie Crist veto abortion restrictions (HB 1143). You state, "This bill imposes government between a woman's constitutional right to choose an abortion and her doctor."
Did I miss something? Where in the Constitution does it mention a woman's right to an abortion?
William Bolin Sr., Largo
Hero for a day | May 9
An uplifting tale
This article made my day! What a great story about the boy with liver cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
With all the world news so bad, we need some good positive stories.
Audrey S. Mitchell, Seminole