Pelosi unveils health plan | Oct. 30, story
Where's the Republican plan?
It's very difficult for me to objectively assess the merits of the House health plan because of an absence of specifics on the part of the Republicans.
Rather than hearing Rep. John Boehner ridiculing the plan because of its size and making flamboyant comments that instill fear of higher taxes, lost jobs, etc., I would have appreciated seeing the GOP version. By having the opposition plan stacked next to the House bill and by outlining the differences, we as voters would have credible material to ponder. Then we could contact our representatives and senators with opinions based on fact, not innuendo.
Or can it be that the Republicans just do not have a plan?
If that's the case, why don't they dust off the Nixon health care proposal? They might even find that it's not that much different from the House version.
Larry Silver, Oldsmar
Pelosi unveils health plan | Oct. 30, story
Take a stand against monstrous legislation
After seeing the ridiculous size and unsustainable nature of the House's bloated plan, I wrote my senators, as they may be our last hope for reshaping this monster. I would encourage others to do the same, or we and our children will live with this mistake for a long time. This is some of what I wrote to Sens. Bill Nelson and George LeMieux:
With Medicare already badly in the red, it seems immoral to stick our children and grandchildren with even more irresponsible debt just because we want some more goodies. There are other responsible ways to fund the needed reforms (competition across state lines, tort reform, taxing current employer policies as income, to name a few).
I think most of us know that the CBO and other estimates of cost are just temporary smokescreens to allow this boondoggle to pass. The House bill is nearly 2,000 pages! I have to say, I am outraged at the direction this is going.
Please stand against the pressure for a public option. We do not need another sinkhole after seeing some of the wild pork-barrel projects that were inserted into the "stimulus" package.
Gregory A. Stock, Crystal Beach
Did God evolve? | Oct. 25, Perspective story
A need to believe
I would like to add two comments that may clarify the issues raised by William Saletan in his thoughtful article.
First, genetics provides an example as good as any other that the biological laws are as stable and as predictable as those of physics. In my field, cancer biology and treatment, we have learned that the activation of oncogenes and the impairment of antiproliferative genes (anti-oncogenes) lead to outcomes that can be anticipated with high degree of accuracy.
Second, the debate between evolution and pre-existing natural laws cannot be settled by the experimental method and as such it is destined to remain a debate between two different forms of faith. Agnosticism is the only reasonable intellectual approach to the origin of the universe.
Having said that, it cannot be denied that the belief in a God is essential to satisfy our search for meaning, even if God's existence cannot be experimentally demonstrated. This is the claim of the father of modern philosophy, Immanuel Kant. In his Critique of Pure Reason, he demonstrated that three ideas, the self, the world, and God, are the fundament of our thoughts as well as our behavior. They are the oxygen that supports the function of our intellect.
Lodovico Balducci, Tampa
A visit once only dreamed about | Oct. 28
Paving the way
Having lived in Florida since 1991, I especially appreciated this front-page article. I found myself in tears when I read that Eugene Hickson Sr. of Arcadia said that he's "proud to have been one of many, in small towns across the country, who may have paved the way for President Barack Obama."
We need to hear more stories like Hickson's. The determination and vision they illustrate help us to explore what a friend once called "the frontier of human relationships."
Thank you not just for this article, but also for providing the finest community paper I have encountered in my travels around the United States.
Barbara Rupp Finkelstein, Safety Harbor
From illiterate child to TV news standout Oct. 25
Cultivate their gifts
I was delighted to read this story by Eric Deggans in last Sunday's Latitudes section. Byron Pitts is a stellar example of success being accessible to all no matter the seeming odds.
At a time when children from grade school on are being pushed and stressed to the max to succeed at the same rate, this story sheds light on the fact that we all learn in our own time and way. Every child has the potential to become successful at what they do best when so motivated.
Harvard's Howard Gardner put it succinctly: "We should spend less time ranking children and more time helping them to identify their natural competencies and gifts and cultivate these. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed and many, many different abilities that will help you get there."
Parents and teachers, I encourage you to read this article to the children in your care.
Nancy Ellington, Kenneth City