Gulf oil spill
Let's remember the real heroes
The powerful picture on the front page Thursday is a reminder that this AP reporter, swimming in the toxic oil muck, really represents the hundreds, if not thousands, of real heroes of this oil spill — those doing the dirty work, day in and day out, before, during and after the tragedy.
True to the style of Gov. Charlie Crist, we see and hear about his lame responses to this spill all the time. He wrote a letter, he visited the coast, he rallied to get an ad campaign going. Big deal.
The people working to repair the well, the ones on the rig who perished or got injured in the blast, the emergency room staffs at the hospital caring for them, the firefighters, the people working in the coastal fishing industries — they hardly ever get any press. They don't want it. They don't need it. All they ask for is our support.
I am grateful that a front-page story Thursday (How to fight the oil: a Great Wall) was about how people near Pensacola are taking matters in their own hands by building a ridge of sand to absorb the oil. They have learned to take action on their own because they can't rely on the government when they are really in need. Hooray for them.
Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg
Reporters behaving badly
What possible benefit is there for this idiot to swim in oil contaminated waters (Why would he do this? June 10, photo)? For that matter, what benefit is there for the weather commentators to stand in gale-force winds to deliver their lines? We can see it's windy. We can see the effects of the oil. Is it just showing off? Is it purely for the drama? Well, if that's the case, they're doing us all a huge disfavor.
Setting a bad example is not good journalism, it's crass and stupid. It's very dangerous to swim in chemical contamination, or to avoid shelter in high winds. The oil can cause all kinds of medical problems, and in high winds you can have your head torn off by flying debris. These guys are sending the wrong signals.
Journalism should educate, not show off. Who knows how many idiots now believe that swimming in oil is perfectly safe and acceptable, and standing outside in a hurricane or tornado is cool, all because these journalistic idiots had to be flashy.
You guys need to get on the right track. Show some common sense, and deliver your news using safe methods and deliver the right message.
Craig Williams, Clearwater
Gulf oil spill
An old, familiar story
Thank you to the Times letter writer who spoke the truth to power and pointed out that, despite BP's platitudes, nothing and no one can "make it right" and undo the damage done by the oil industry's risk-taking for the sake of greed.
On Thursday, I opened the Times to a full-page ad, "A Message from America's Oil and Natural Gas Industry," which was also meant to assure the public of the industry's safety measures and technological expertise. It stated, "Nothing like the Deepwater Horizon spill has ever occurred in more than 60 years of oil and natural gas exploration in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico."
Technically, this is not a lie, but it is certainly misleading. A hauntingly similar disastrous oil spill occurred in the Mexican waters of the Gulf of Mexico on June 3, 1979, when a blowout preventer malfunctioned and the exploding oil threatened the U.S. coast. Sound familiar?
The same 31-year-old technology that did not work then is exactly what the industry has been unsuccessfully trying in 2010. In 1979 the oil company tried for months to contain the leak by: 1) dropping chemicals on the oil, 2) laying out booms to contain the surface oil slick, 3) sending floating barriers and skimming vessels, 4) trying to cap the well with a giant cone (called a "sombrero," the 1979 version of "top hat"), and 5) shooting metal spheres, mud and cement into the hole to jam it (today's "top kill"). Finally, some nine months later, relief wells enabled the 1979 leak to be capped. In 2010 this is BP's latest innovative proposal!
Are we willing to wait nine months while the industry PR campaigns assure us that offshore oil drilling is really safe, that they have "the world's leading experts" at work, and that this is just a fluke?
Let this be a wake-up call to Florida and to America to move beyond our fossil fuel addiction and aggressively implement clean energy.
Susan Sherwood, St. Petersburg
Enjoy it while you can
Now that tar balls and other oil-related residue have reached the beaches in the Panhandle, it's no longer a matter of if the oil will reach Tampa Bay waters, but when.
Just the other night my wife and I came to the realization that our 10-month-old daughter may never get to enjoy the gulf and Old Tampa Bay like we we've been able to as Clearwater natives. Weekend fishing excursions, lazy days along the Dunedin Causeway and dolphin watching may all be in jeopardy because of this man-made disaster.
What a shame to think that an entire generation may have one of the most beautiful ecosystems in the country taken away in the span of two months.
So I urge our area residents to go out and soak up a sunset along John's Pass. Go for a bike ride on Clearwater Beach. Take the Jet Skis out and splash around the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Enjoy the beauty of it all now, because there's no telling how much longer it'll be around for us to enjoy.
J.J. Rodriguez, Clearwater
Abortion bill veto
The right thing to do
I am a Republican and I am very pleased that Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed this bill.
This is none of the government's business.
It's sort of hypocritical for Republicans to tout "less government" and yet at the same time, want the government to force women top make a medical and very personal decision.
Good for you, governor! This was the right thing to do.
Lynne Shelby, St. Petersburg
Crist vetoes abortion bill
Elected by the people
I take umbrage at your assertions that Gov. Charlie Crist repudiated "the Republicans who elected him" by vetoing a bill.
I am a Democrat, as are dozens of my friends and associates who not only voted for the governor, but canvassed as well. Crist was elected by the people of Florida, not the Republican Party, despite your assertions.
I believe Gov. Crist has come to the realization that the GOP has been overrun by nationalistic ideologues such as Marco Rubio and the tea party, who put party interest before country. I believe Crist will caucus with the Democrats and do the work of the people, not of the tea party. Your daily attacks on Crist are questionable and unfair, in my opinion.
Christopher Curley, Sun City Center
Two graduations, one guy; here's how he did it | June 12, story
I wish my fellow graduates and I could have come up with something this clever 55 years ago. This is destined to become a classic. No one was hurt, nothing was stolen and nothing was vandalized … just plain fun.
So congratulations to Brett Maddox and Ari Sokolov.
Sam Pannill, Largo