Insurance to blame for shortage | July 4, letter
Nurses able to meet state's needs
The letter writer, a retired physician, expresses concern that in 10 years all primary care will be delivered by nurses. In fact, advanced practice nurses, which in Florida include nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, are extremely well-qualified primary care providers. They are specifically trained, at the master's level or higher, to address the health care needs of their patients throughout the continuum of life and to examine the patient holistically.
There is no need to fear the expansion of the use and role of the advance practice nurse. Rather, we should embrace it. The 14,000 advanced practice nurses in Florida are ready, able and willing to be part of the solution to our state's primary care crisis. Physicians and advanced practice nurses should work collaboratively as members of the health care team to serve our state's citizens who seek access to heath care.
Anna Small, Tampa
Bride's all a-Twitter over financial woes July 7
Live within your means
This article seems to epitomize the problems with making poor decisions and the difficulty people have in paying their bills. Live within your means. We live in a real world, not fantasyland. If your budget allows for a $1,000 wedding, you do not spend $5,000. Live within your means.
What about shame? Does Yolanda Kelsey have any? With all the serious economic problems of so many, she is asking for money from the public for fantasy fulfillment?
Second, when there is such a conflict between a future couple that one considers a courthouse wedding and the other wants all the "bells and whistles," a serious problem is developing. Marriage is about a lifetime commitment to love, support and care for one another, not about a fantasy wedding.
Norene Dagly, St. Petersburg
Cheating in tests rampant, inquiry finds July 6
Corruption in many forms
The Atlanta scandal involving teachers and administrators cheating on behalf of students in order to make themselves and the system look better reminds me of a practice in the Hillsborough County school system that did pretty much the same thing.
As a science teacher during the '80s and early '90s, I administered final semester exams to my students. The process was to submit the raw machine-score answer sheets to the county office, which would score them and develop a curve. I became concerned one year when a score of 50 percent was curved to a D, meaning that getting only half the questions right produced a passing grade. Why? The system did not want too many students failing, which would make it look bad.
I regret that I did not publicly blow the whistle, either then or in subsequent years. What Hillsborough County did was quite different from Atlanta, but it was to the same end — and equally corrupt.
Joseph F. Bohren, Odessa
Far from improving, jobless rate rises July 9
Less spin, more cuts
The recent terrible unemployment report was again smoothed over by the spinner in chief. President Barack Obama has said that he did not realize how bad the economy was when he took office, and that his only regret is that he did not warn the American people of the severity of the problem at that time.
This blithe statement does not exonerate him from what we all know: The policies of the Obama administration have has put us in this desperate economic position. The solution begins with two simple words: cut spending.
Pat Jennings, Dunedin
Myth of the 'job creators'
I see that the Republican leaders do not want to repeal the huge tax breaks for the upper class. They claim these multimillionaires are "job creators." They have had these gifts for years. How many jobs did they create? They created huge portfolios that they can pass on to other people. These "other people" did not earn anything. Inheritance is a gift.
Eighty percent of the people think the wealthy and large corporate profits should be taxed more. I guess the Republicans think 80 percent just don't understand, or maybe are stupid. No, we are just the majority.
John Culkin, St. Petersburg
In place of an honest debt debate, fantasies July 8, commentary
Those who have, pay
The old Republican mantra that the rich "already pay most federal taxes" is a red herring. People who have next to nothing and those who have everything should not be required to pay equal amounts in taxes.
For example, in a country of 10 people in which one has 10 loaves of bread, one has one loaf of bread and eight have two slices of bread each, no rational person would think they should all pay the same amount.
Ten percent of the people in America have 70 percent of the wealth. It is fantasy to imply that they are paying more than their fair share of taxes.
Gerald A. Cerveny Sr., Tampa
Chew on this | Weekend, July 7
Cover leaves a bad taste
I was amazed at your Weekend cover story glorifying the joys of overeating. Over 30 percent of Americans are labeled obese, and an additional 30 percent are considered overweight.
But we don't even need to go by statistics. Just take a ride down to the nearby shopping mall and look around. According to one expert, the average American is now 23 pounds overweight.
Obesity has been described as an epidemic and costs us almost $150 billion a year in direct medical costs. Florida's obesity rate has climbed 80 percent in the last 15 years. And yet you feature a story which basically encourages people to go out and find a place where they can stuff their faces full of junk food. Quite frankly, it's disgusting.
Michael Ross, Pinellas Park