Texting and driving ban proposed again | Dec. 11
We should follow California's lead
This article details another attempt to pass a law to ban texting by drivers. It doesn't take too much intelligence too figure out the cellphone companies and their lobbyists are padding enough hands of our legislators to ensure this proposed law and any similar ones never pass.
The opponents use the excuse that a law like this would be an intrusion of personal liberty. Where would my personal liberty be when a thoughtless texting driver rams into the rear of my stopped car?
I would like to see Florida pass laws similar to those in California. There, drivers may not use wireless devices to "write, send or read a text-based communication," as in text messaging. Adult drivers are banned from using cellphones unless they employ hands-free devices, and minors are prohibited from using wireless phones while driving with or without hands-free accessories.
Tim Harman, Tampa
Texting and driving ban proposed again Dec. 11
Lack of courage, leadership
I cannot count the times oblivious and distracted drivers using cellphones to talk or text-message have almost crashed into my car, causing me to take evasive action to avoid serious crashes while they merrily went on their way. It's not an old, young, male or female thing — everyone does it. But that does not make it right or safe.
As a Republican, I believe in less government, but not in this case. The Legislature will duck this issue until a horrific crash caused by a driver on a cellphone kills and maims multiple victims in a chain-reaction crash. Only then will Republicans and Democrats in the Florida Legislature recoil in mock anguish and horror, denouncing cellphone use and text-messaging, and rush to file bills outlawing the practice.
There is no courage or leadership on this subject now, except for state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, whose bill is only a baby step to curtail a growing highway menace.
David P. Carter, Seminole
Best foreign policy president in 50 years Dec. 12, commentary
Containment, not war
It's about time President George H.W. Bush received some credit for his foreign policy.
In the late 1940s, George F. Kennan, foreign policy adviser in the FDR and Truman administrations, proposed the policy of containment, creating a system of alliances (NATO and SEATO) designed to contain the power of the Soviet Union.
Thus began the Cold War. There were lives lost, but nothing compared to those lost in a "hot" war. It took 40 years, but containment led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
Bush used the policy of containment on Saddam Hussein following the Gulf War of 1991. The "no-fly zone" was established under this plan, neutralizing Saddam's power. Once again lives were lost, but nothing compared to those lost in a "hot" war.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Bush's son George W. discussed with his father the possibility of invading Iraq.
That policy destroyed containment in 2003, eliminated a counterweight to the dreaded Iran, dealt a severe blow to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and resulted in untold misery to both sides of the war.
Frank Entis, Tampa
Reaped what Reagan sowed
By citing George H.W. Bush as a great hero and victor in defeating the Soviet Union and ending the Cold War, Nicholas Burns once again demonstrates the liberal bias against Ronald Reagan.
The first President George Bush was a good bureaucrat but a poor president. He reaped what Reagan sowed but did not even manage this harvest well.
Burns is entitled to his views, but he should not try to rewrite history. Victory over communism cannot be attributed to three European leaders and a pragmatic former vice president. Thank God for Ronald Reagan and his solid, unwavering anticommunist convictions.
L. Duane Brown, Brooksville
Dramatic shifts in views towards guns Dec. 12
Part of this article states "the world is an unsafe place," which maybe is the wrong choice of words. Last year in the United States, 9,369 people were murdered by guns, while our neighbors in Mexico murdered 2,606 people. In Canada and other civilized countries, from Australia to Germany, the number of murders by guns was under 150. Perhaps saying "the United States is an unsafe place" would have been more accurate.
David Foote, Dunedin
Utility knew DIY plan risks | Dec. 11
Private profits, public losses
This was a great article on the cracks at Progress Energy's nuclear power plant. The test on liability is simple. Who would have benefited if the project had gone as smoothly as Progress Energy had hoped? It would have gone into the profits and bonuses for the shareholders and executives of Progress Energy. Yet when things go terribly wrong and someone has to pay real money out, whom do they want to sack with the cost? The ratepayers, of course.
This is the new American corporate mantra. Privatize the profits and socialize the costs. We are the suckers that keep getting stuck with the bill.
Jeremiah Rohr, St. Petersburg
Many thanks to Ivan Penn for his tenacious investigative series regarding the Progress Energy nuclear plant nightmare. As a ratepayer, I am outraged at the ridiculous risks taken by the "group think" strategy at Progress Energy, and even more outraged by the utility's expectation that we should pay any portion of it.
Clayton Scott Hinnant, Progress' former chief nuclear officer, said, "We are the owner and we're going to share in whatever downside or upside occurs." When he said "owner" and "share," he made it very clear who is responsible and who is not. The stockholders "own" Progress Energy through their equity "shares" — not the ratepayers. We are not liable for their bad management decisions.
This slow-motion disaster clearly demonstrates the need for change in the legislation that allows investor-owned utilities to collect monies from ratepayers for power we will likely never receive. Also needed are changes to lift the ban on distributed energy, as well as a Florida renewable energy standard change that creates jobs in our communities. It's time for the governor and the Legislature to fix this.
Cathy Harrelson, St. Petersburg