U.S., Russia reach accord on Syria's chemical arms | Sept. 15
Avoiding war should unite nation
As a Vietnam vet, I am over our "chicken hawk/cowboy" Congress always criticizing our president on Syria. First they were upset he didn't take action. Then he started to act and they said he needed congressional approval. He goes to Congress and they all hide under their desks.
Now that he has a chance to "give peace a chance" and avoid another stupid war, he is criticized for not leading. He is doing what a president should do: leading and trying to avoid confrontation. We need to support our president in front of the world on this as Americans. This should not be a partisan issue. We are Americans, not just Republicans, Democrats and independents.
Ross P. Alander, Tampa
Lesson for Congress
The world might be growing up. This agreement between the United States and Russia could lead to other diplomatic achievements.
Perhaps our do-nothing Congress could take a lesson in maturity.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor
A plea for avoiding force against Syria Sept. 13, commentary
Truths from abroad
It is with a heavy heart that I find myself wanting to read more of what the leader of Russia has to say about Syria than what my own leader has to say.
President Vladimir Putin said nothing with which I can disagree, which is the reverse of how I feel about President Barack Obama's decisions on Syria. This is a very sad day for me.
Pat Ellis, St. Petersburg
Thank you for publishing Russian President Vladimir Putin's sermon to the American people. His pontificating for peaceful dialogue in the Syrian crisis and respecting international law is about two years too late. He has neither said nor done anything constructive, instead propping up Russia's sole surrogate in the Middle East — except for just this past week.
Knowing that the rebels had no hand in this attack, but still hewing to the position that "reports" indicate they are preparing another chemical attack, Putin magnanimously and with great statesmanship stepped in and suggested that he would defuse the situation, call for the destruction of Bashar Assad's chemical weapons, and wag his finger at the United States, meanwhile getting his tux pressed for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Last week people were quoted in the press that Putin had a "very good day" and anointed him as peacemaker, stealing the spotlight from President Barack Obama. The Russian president did the only thing he could. Putin's eleventh-hour intervention to stall the possibly of imminent military retaliation by the United States and France is near-certain confirmation the attack was carried out by the Assad regime and that it may very well have a connection to the Russians themselves.
By the way, the only place where those "reports" about the rebels might have come from is the operations center at the KGB.
Mark Kanuck, Safety Harbor
Obamacare not perfect | Sept. 14, letter
Congress and coverage
Some people, such as the letter writer, have claimed that the fact that members of Congress have exempted themselves from Obamacare proves that they knew is was a bad idea. Utter nonsense.
The truth is that Obamacare exempts everyone who has employer-sponsored health coverage. And members of Congress, being government employees, have the same coverage as other government employees. So there goes another criticism of Obamacare down the drain.
Lewis Lederer, Clearwater
Let it ring | Sept. 15
Research your causes
Besides wishing a special place in hell for Errol Copilevitz and his deceptive and harassing clients, there's another action people can take to protect themselves. Simply refuse to respond to solicitations of any kind over the phone, by mail or email, or by advertising.
Define the causes you care about, research those groups doing the best work for those causes with the most efficient use of funding, and focus your giving there.
Many local groups do incredible work with young people, feeding hungry families, and supporting local institutions. Reach out to them and make your contributions directly.
What Copilevitz and his ilk have done is pit the interests of the rapacious few against those of the citizens. Don't answer the "unknown name" number on your caller ID, and if a solicitor does call, no need to get nasty. "Sorry, we don't respond to telephone solicitations." Then hang up.
Apparently we are all left to protect ourselves from these vultures, liars and thieves. They have their high-priced lawyer — what we have is common sense and the power to say no.
Jerry Nepon-Sixt, Tampa
Here's what really hurts | Sept. 15, editorial
Costs up, moving out
Here's what really hurts — after residing in Florida for 15 years, I don't see it as the place where I can continue to live. Why? The increased costs.
Homeowner's insurance is outrageous. Yes, we have hurricanes and floods, but other parts of the nation have tornadoes and floods. Our insurance rates continue to increase to the point where it's no longer affordable for middle-income households.
Electricity rates climb as customers pay for "vapor" electrical plants. This while the bay area's most visible plant, Big Bend, spews pollutants from its stacks.
Now, with the Legislature's inaction on health care, the cost of insurance/care will skyrocket.
There are cheaper places in the United States to live with as good as or better quality of life. I've loved living in Florida, but it's too expensive.
Kimberlea Dunkle, Valrico
Bridge ban upsets anglers | Sept. 13
Is compromise possible?
Local anglers are, with some justification, upset that they are prohibited from using the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge. Could this situation be relieved by allowing fishing on alternate days? Or once or twice a week? If the fishermen do not keep the bridge neat, this privilege could be revoked.
Homer Savige, Sun City Center