Medical moneymakers | June 25, commentary
Nation's pay priorities out of balance
According to USA Today, the average major-league baseball player's pay is around $3,944,000, with many in eight figures. According to the chart in the Times, this would pay for about 17 surgeons. One major-league pitcher is being paid $28 million; according to the chart, the pay for this one player would pay 164 baby doctors or 120 surgeons.
The average major-league player in 1967 was paid $22,000, the equivalent of $170,000 today. What happened?
"American doctors are way overpaid"? This country needs to get its priorities in order.
Dr. Edwin L. Wildner Jr., Dunedin
Lies and hard truths | June 27, letter
Finding the truth tellers
This letter got me thinking about the people we think are entertaining — like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are comedians not unlike the court jesters of old. The court jesters were the only ones in the king's court who could tell the truth without harm coming to them. So when I want the truth, I turn to people like them.
Mary Sheppard, Riverview
Retread tires pose risks
Once again recently, I was splattered with a large piece of a tire as it came off a truck on I-75, and there was no way for me to avoid it.
In May on a road trip of more than 4,000 miles, I could hardly find a single mile without some piece (large or small) that had come from a trucker's retread tire.
This is dangerous, expensive to clean up and unnecessary. The trucking industry is the backbone of our economy and I have total respect for the drivers, but we either need better retreads or no retreads. Give the industry six months to clear up this situation. Maybe this is something that even Republicans and Democrats can agree on.
Mark E. Salmon, Sun City Center
Remember day's meaning
A national holiday is near. How many people know what we should be celebrating? Of course, most say the Fourth of July. But what is the occasion?
We don't say "Merry 25th of December" or "Happy Fourth Thursday in November." So why do we say "Fourth of July"?
We are commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Let's get back to saying Happy Independence Day — the reason we have the United States of America.
Patricia Keenan, New Port Richey
White House finds 'corrosive culture' at VA June 28
It boils down to money
Until we finally admit that we did not give the Department of Veterans Affairs a proper budget to do its job, we will continue to blame everyone and everything for inviting more people to the party than we had places at the table. It all boils down to money.
No one was prepared to handle the huge number of mangled bodies and minds of our returning vets, so no one hired enough doctors, no one built enough hospitals or clinics, no one bought enough equipment, supplies or medications to handle the onslaught.
Saying the VA didn't do enough is putting the blame on the wrong shoulders.
I was the wife of Marine Corps officer with posttraumatic stress syndrome. We went to the James A. Haley VA Medical Center weekly for many years, and not once did we see employees sitting around, doing nothing. The parking lots were packed, with cars often circling for hours waiting to find a space; the waiting rooms were the same, with no place to sit; the doctors and nurses were seeing two to three patients simultaneously, going from one bed to another, all of them haggard and apologizing for the wait and for being rushed. They were all doing all they could every day and never catching up.
Despite that, the care was the best available at the time, and those VA employees should be commended and be proud of the job they did in the face of lack of funds and adequate space.
When we make the decision to enter into battles in foreign countries, we need to consider not just the costs to supply service members with weapons, but the need to provide for their lifetime care when they return home as broken people.
Judith Batson, Tampa
Star power arrives | June 29
I couldn't help but notice the irony of an article that begins by hailing Bill Clinton's star power and closes by noting that the Florida Democratic Party no longer refers to its fundraising event as the "Jefferson-Jackson Dinner" due to those two presidents' histories as slave owners.
It's a strange world where a president who stared into the camera and lied to the country (regardless of his justifications) is held in higher esteem than one of the founding fathers of our country.
If owning slaves is the issue, then there are many schools, streets and cities that will need to be renamed as well. Indeed, the "Washington" Redskins may be looking for two new names.
Bill Lynch, St. Petersburg
A long journey, only half done June 30, commentary
This Leonard Pitts column is a beautiful piece of writing. It's a perfect bookend to Ta-Nehisi Coates' article in June issue of the Atlantic, "The Case For Reparations." As Coates noted, "You don't eliminate 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of separate but equal and 35 years of state-sanctioned redlining overnight."
Look to Germany. They paid reparations for their attempted genocide. Pay your debts, America, so we can all get on with our lives.
Thomas Hayes, Dunedin
Republicans for rights
Leonard Pitts' column continues to push the Democrats' false narrative that "conservatives" and "the political right" were against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It is a well-known fact that Republicans voted for the act by a far greater percentage than did Democrats, but it's rarely mentioned. Perhaps PolitiFact might want to enlighten your readers.
Peter Ford, St. Petersburg