Defense secretary nominee
Hagel ideally suited for Pentagon
Chuck Hagel is ideally qualified to run the Pentagon. He exemplifies the realist ideology of Gen. Colin Powell — that U.S. military force should be judiciously employed with a sound exit strategy and only when it is in the interest of the American people.
However, Senate Republicans are largely of the neoconservative ideology which, by their actions, reflects the agenda of using U.S. military force not for the interest of America but simply for the interests of wealthy, powerful, selfish special interests (military industrial complex, for example).
All of the opposition to Hagel is coming from these same neoconservative "chicken hawks" who got the United States into the Iraq war, which cost several thousand American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian lives, drained trillions of dollars from the U.S. economy and created another front for al-Qaida to operate.
It would be a disgrace if these same Senate Republicans prevent the United States from having this perfectly qualified person to run the Pentagon.
John I. Campo, Tampa
Supervisor of elections ad | Feb. 8
Not too helpful
The Pinellas supervisor of elections' "one-time" ad listing names of voters whose eligibility is in question is a mishmash of un-alphabetized names in small type. Few will read through the whole list to find out if their name is on it.
Why not alphabetize these names? It would be much easier for people to make a quick check for their name that way. I thought making voting easier was a goal of the elections office.
Malcolm Johnson, Seminole
Mailboxes to have that empty feeling Feb. 7, editorial
Protect the post office
I am puzzled by the Republican drive to kill the U.S. Postal Service. Our post office is wonderfully efficient and trustworthy. Forcing it to prefund 75 years' worth of pension benefits has only one purpose: to bankrupt the service.
Some services are best done by the government. The Postal Service is one of them. We in Florida have seen the results of privatization: shoddy service provided by political cronies. I hope Congress will save the Postal Service, including Saturday delivery.
Jeffrey Harper, St. Petersburg
Insulting and arrogant | Feb. 9, letter
No insult intended
The letter writer, president of the Florida Nurses Association, shouldn't take the Florida Medical Association's legislative attempt to clarify the position of graduate nurses personally. Nor should anyone else. The purpose is to make sure that if a patient wishes to see a medical doctor, then there's no confusion over what degree the provider who sees the patient has.
Many physicians use nurse practitioners or physician's assistants in their practices to provide ancillary care and the care is often excellent. Senate Bill 612 is an attempt to make sure that when a patient enters a walk-in or drugstore clinic, or even a medical doctor's office, that he or she is not told, "The doctor will see you shortly," when, in fact, an M.D. or D.O. will not be seeing them.
David Lubin, M.D., Tampa
Quality of care
State Sen. Bill Galvano claims to be a fighter against government "overregulation," yet he has introduced a bill that is a solution in search of a problem. SB 612 would threaten nurses who have earned Ph.D. degrees with felony charges if there is confusion about what kind of "doctor" they are.
I value physicians highly, but the truth is that I often get better medical attention and learn more about my medical needs from the nurse practitioners because they have more time to spend with me than the doctor does. A nurse practitioner with a Ph.D. is still a "nurse" even though he or she can prescribe some medications and has just about as much education and experience as a medical doctor.
There are already laws on the books barring the practice of medicine without a license. Medical professionals have enough to worry about without new "gotcha" regulations. A previous letter points out that SB 612 is the Florida Medical Association's top priority this legislative session. Galvano would seem to be the proxy warrior for more regulation if it suits the FMA's 20-year turf war against nurse practitioners. It is beneath the FMA to make the intimidation of nurses their top priority.
Arlin Briley, St. Petersburg
Tarpon to try pilot public housing plan Feb. 9
Givers and takers
On Saturday we were treated to a story about a single mother of four with another baby on the way who was complaining about the state of her Tarpon Springs public housing. The Sunday Times followed up with a story about babies born to drug-addicted mothers, one of whom had already had three children removed from her custody yet was pregnant with another. The costs of both these situations is incalculable given the myriad of public programs it takes to support and care for these individuals. To make matters worse, we see that the program for tutoring the "poor" is riddled with fraud and waste yet nothing is done about it.
I challenge the Times to add up the dollar value of all these programs provided for these individuals. Let us see how much a working person would have to earn to maintain the lifestyle of the takers. Please include Medicaid, cash welfare benefits, food stamps, SSI, free school lunches, tutoring, free child care, Section 8 housing, etc. Then tell us if the growing number of these takers or babymakers is 47 percent or more. We all know why they voted the way they did.
Helen Richard, Clearwater
Tutoring a mandated moneymaker | Feb. 10
More wasteful spending
After reading the Times investigation about the tutoring program I felt sick. Here is another government program rife with fraud, cheating, wasting of taxpayer money and lack of oversight.
Why do we seem to find this same old story whenever we examine a government-run program? How about some responsible management and auditing of the way these funds are being spent?
John Freeman, Seminole