Beyond anger | June 20
Tea party anger is misdirected
I understand the anger the middle class and retirees are feeling over losing so much of their hard-earned money over the last few years. I understand the frustration when they see the bailout of financial institutions and banks that profited from the transactions that caused the financial crisis. But I don't get the anger at the government and especially President Barack Obama for trying to turn this all around.
It is the greed of the people at the top of the corporations and their complete disregard for the fiduciary trust that was placed in them by their clients that caused this meltdown of the financial systems around the world. It is the health care industry that has made billions of dollars, paying huge salaries and bonuses to its executives to cut corners and deny health care to millions of Americans.
The tea party affiliates want smaller government. Does that mean we should just let the big corporations get bigger with no controls and only profit as their main goal? Should we tell them to go ahead, destroy the environment if that is what it takes to make money; go ahead and lose all the retirement funds people have paid into all their lives while paying executives millions in bonuses for being so creative?
The tea party members still want the government to take care of utilities, roads, bridges, criminals, wars and assure they are safe in their homes, but they don't want to pay taxes to support it. Now that we have the largest environmental disaster in the country, caused by — you guessed it — greed at the top of the corporations, they want to know why the government doesn't fix it.
Do we have some idiots in Congress? We sure do, on both sides of the aisle. Do we need to vote them out? We sure do. But don't let misplaced anger lead to electing someone who's only skill is deriding the government with nothing positive to offer. For this country to survive and grow we need a balance between business and a strong government that has the will and the ability to protect the citizens from the kind of abuses that have taken place over the last decade. Direct your anger at the people who have profited at the expense of others and have forced the government to take action. Then vote intelligently.
Bobbi Bottone, Treasure Island
Green pipe dreams | June 21, Robert Samuelson column
On energy efficiency, business drags its feet
Robert Samuelson's discouraging piece on the necessity of excessive fossil fuel use over future decades need not be as accurate as it probably is.
One of my major discouragements is how unwilling business seems to be to meet us halfway. Automakers had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into improving gas mileage in very small increments; power companies are apparently unwilling to simplify for residents the process of utilizing solar and wind power.
Over my years in Florida, I've searched the Internet and telephoned several Progress Energy offices. Nowhere could I find any encouragement to convert. My roof is in sunshine 10 to 14 hours a day and, being close to the bay, we frequently get winds that prune our trees. Any help harnessing any of that? Not yet!
It's embarrassing to live in the Sunshine State and find so little of our great natural gift put to good use. I suspect it's due to American business' reluctance to invest in research and innovation, as they don't fill the pockets of short-term investors.
In many cases, individuals have gone as far as they can to minimize fossil fuel use and pollution, and need not be guilt-tripped; most of us are far ahead of institutional efforts. It's past time for large entities to take up the challenge, and I would be all in favor of "social engineering" our tax structures to encourage such research.
Eileen O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg
Green pipe dreams | June 21, Robert Samuelson column
A nuclear vision
Robert Samuelson's faulty opinion is the standard pessimistic view of America since Jimmy Carter, who wanted to get us off oil addiction, was defeated by Ronald Reagan.
Everything Samuelson says is true because there isn't the courage and foresight we demonstrated during the Manhattan Project and John F. Kennedy's challenge to go to the moon.
We need to massively shift to nuclear power, though it can't be done overnight. It's only implausible because we have human error and tolerate too much corporate corner-cutting.
Wake up and dream! Reject the conventional wisdom and optimistically make real drastic reductions in pollution by abandoning the short-term profit mind-set. Raise power rates now to fund building nuclear plants and save future generations from our current plight.
Vincent Suppicich, Bradenton
Census takers knock, deluge of ire follows June 21
Sowing seeds of violence
Many thanks to Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and the other talk radio haters for demonizing the census to the point where ordinary Americans have to fear for their lives doing what the Constitution ordains.
The politicians prove with this misguided bombast toward the census that they have no idea of what the Constitution says. And the radio talk haters prove they don't care what it says as long as they can rile the people against our president.
Oh, and by the way, the next census planning starts as soon as the last one is completed. It's not a president's call.
Kay Kelly, Clearwater
Cut off benefits
If someone refuses to fill out a census form it should trigger an immediate halt to all government benefits to anyone at that address including Social Security, military retirement, VA benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and welfare until the omission is corrected.
It amazes me how many people hate the government, yet are first in line for their government checks — earned or not.
Ellen Carson, Brandon
Rep. Joe Barton
I want to thank U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, for his heartfelt and sincere apology to BP, through which he showed us where Republicans really stand when it comes to choosing between a multinational, faceless, shameless corporation, and the ecosystem and inhabitants of the Gulf of Mexico and its coast.
I, too, would like to apologize to BP: I am so genuinely sorry that we got all those pelicans in your precious oil.
Daniel Vergara, Clearwater
All four rivals address leaders | June 21
I find it a tremendous disservice to your readers when you refer to "all four candidates for governor …" It is reprehensible in that there are 12 qualified candidates running and two write-ins, yet the public will know only about four.
It is my sincere opinion that you should be giving equal exposure to at least those who will appear on the ballot. I used to think you were an unbiased news organization, however I am rapidly seeing things differently.
Karl Dickey, Boca Raton