Drive to secede is bigger in Texas | Nov. 25
If Texans want to leave, let them
So Texas wants to secede. Again. Let them go. It would go far in reducing the federal deficit.
All federal installations and offices would close, military and civilian. Military personnel would be transferred. Civilians could opt to leave, or remain and become permanent citizens of Texas. No citizen of Texas would receive Social Security or Medicare payments. There would be no federal funds expended in Texas for any purpose. No FAA. No commerce with the United States unless established by treaty, should we decide to recognize Texas as a sovereign foreign power.
Billions could be saved for use in our country. No U.S. Border Patrol along the Mexican border. Texas would have to provide that. Instead, we would patrol the Texas border. Ah, like their tourist brochures proclaim: Texas. It's a whole other country.
Harold Mathews, Riverview
Trouble bubbling | Nov. 25
Water districts to rescue
This informative Times feature points up the urgent need for a comprehensive, effective, economic solution to the growing demand for fresh water in Florida. Florida has the expertise and management structure within the water management districts to accomplish this. The districts need to be truly empowered and funded to save and recharge the Florida aquifer, conserve fresh water and promote the recreational use of once bubbling springs.
One approach might be to require a percentage of all fresh water consumed in a coastal county to be replaced by the desalinization of sea water. Will this happen? Probably not. The technology is available, but the will to act is not here yet.
John B. Weber, Spring Hill
Lowering the bar is not the answer Nov. 26, commentary
Vouchers level the field
Leonard Pitts nailed it when he wrote that lowering the bar for academic achievement for black youths is not the answer. That approach, along with affirmative action, sends a message that minorities are inherently inferior and incapable of competing on a level field.
I also agree that black youths start behind others. Why should a black baby face a future that includes being forced to attend a failing school where parental involvement, discipline and third-rate teachers are the norm? The reason is that some of our politicians are in bed with the teachers' unions. School vouchers would give these students an opportunity to learn and eliminate "social promotion."
When are black parents going to stand up for their children and say "enough is enough" and demand vouchers by voting against politicians who maintain the status quo for their own self-interest?
Mike Lyons, Apollo Beach
Food labels should inform, not alarm Nov. 26, editorial
Public trust in science
Although there is no independent science that indicates long-term health effects from consuming genetically modified (GM) foods, there is a long-standing precautionary principle to consider, along with the importance of open access to information.
California's Proposition 37 may have been flawed, but successful communication of science requires mutual trust and a perception of shared values. Appearing to withhold information that people want about the food they eat threatens to erode public perception of and trust in science.
Both perception and trust have been shown to far outweigh general science literacy in determining public attitudes, opinions and actions.
The labeling issue may alert the public to be more concerned about what food they consume. That GM corn fares better during droughts does not say anything about what occurs in the human gut when it is consumed.
JoAnn Valenti, Tampa
I recently had surgery that required me to keep weight off my foot. In the doctor's office, I saw an ad for a walker that supported the leg by kneeling and propelling the walker with the other foot. I asked my insurance company if they would rent it for me. I only wanted it for two weeks. They said no, but they would have paid 80 percent of the cost of buying it.
Insurers have contracts with doctors; why can't they have contracts with medical supply rental companies? It would save money. This is another example of why costs are too high.
Nancy Schubart, Treasure Island
Specialists in medicine for elderly in short supply | Nov. 26
Image of treatment
I am a seasonal resident of Florida and have been impressed by the many senior services offered in the state as well as the respectful manner in which most services are proffered.
It was disappointing to see the photo on Monday's front page due to the nonverbal behavior and the stance this physician has chosen. A picture is worth a thousand words. I am hopeful that this is not the manner in which she treats her patients on any given day.
Carol Lee Hughes, Clearwater
Good news on Florida weather | Nov. 23
Bay area overdue
Sustaining the myth that Tampa Bay is hurricane-free does a disservice to emergency managers' efforts to get residents to change their complacency.
The hurricane database of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that the immediate Tampa Bay "area" has been hit by seven hurricanes since 1851. This limited area is defined as Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee counties — all coastal counties home to or neighboring the city of Tampa — even though hurricanes are usually twice (and often three or more times) that size.
If you define Tampa Bay as just the dot showing the city of Tampa on a map, then a zero tally would be correct. The Tampa Bay area is overdue for a direct hurricane strike.
Chris Cappella, Largo
GOP has a future if it looks to its past Nov. 23, Daniel Ruth column
Reason over rhetoric
This column on Warren Rudman hit the nail on the head. We are not a nation of extremists but a people that respects logic and reason. These bring positive results.
The fact that the GOP let the inmates run the asylum was eventually punished at the polls.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor