Bomb hits near U.S. post | Sept. 13
Time to withdraw is now
When we leave Afghanistan, the country will likely revert to the tribal society that has existed there for centuries.
The Taliban will be poised to devastate the Afghan army. The surge of 30,000 troops sent in 2009 supposedly to assist in establishing democracy in Afghanistan has been effective only in exposing more of our soldiers to attacks from the Taliban.
From a military standpoint I could never understand the strategy of announcing a surge and a date to leave at the same time. It is time for our politicians to show some courage and order withdrawal now before another life is lost in vain.
Harold H. Dean, St. Petersburg
A campaign to sabotage health care | Sept. 13
Leave the navigators alone
I was shocked to hear of the Florida Department of Health's decision to bar federal navigators from county health units. The state has already made a reprehensible choice in refusing to accept the federal money for Medicaid expansion, and now they are preventing working class Floridians from even receiving information about how to enroll in private insurance plans while at county health departments.
By shutting out these navigators (trained to help guide people through the new health care system), the state of Florida has left some of its most vulnerable citizens in the dark about how to maneuver the online marketplace so that they may find the health care coverage they need and deserve.
With the Oct. 1 opening of the online health care marketplace fast approaching, I only hope that the state will reverse its policy immediately.
Karen Coale, St. Petersburg
A new timeline for Syria | Sept. 12
Smells like Iraqi WMDs
A Times editorial states that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. But is that true?
There is at least as much evidence that it was the al-Qaida-linked Syrian opposition who were responsible for the Aug. 21 chemical attacks.
The United Nations has not determined who was responsible for the attacks. And the Obama administration has offered no conclusive proof that Syrian President Bashar Assad gassed his own people. Even some of those who have seen the classified information label Washington's case as "very thin."
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is among those who have stated that President Obama's claims are dubious. Indeed, what Obama has offered as evidence thus far is reminiscent of what the Bush administration offered as "proof" of Saddam Hussein's WMDs.
History proved Bush's WMD claims to be wrong and the Iraq war to be a mistake. If Obama eventually carries out a war on Syria based on the "gassed his own people" pretext, history will leave Obama and all of those in the media who acted as his stenographers in the dust.
Chris Ernesto, St. Petersburg
Waterfront comes at a price | Sept. 11
Flood zone folly
A letter writer equates owning a home in a flood zone with driving an expensive sports car and not being able to pay for repairs. He suggests that homeowners "sell and move inland" and complains that he, as a taxpayer, should not have to subsidize flood insurance.
Most home and business owners affected by the Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform are low- and middle-income people who can ill afford this sudden and overwhelming increase in their insurance rates. Nor can they just pick up and move as the writer suggests.
The federal government subsidizes a long and varied list of goods and services in the United States. No one could possibly hope to benefit directly from each and every item, but we all benefit from government programs including some that I'm sure benefit the letter writer.
I hope that the our elected officials at both the state and federal level address this issue before the coastal communities in Florida and other states are devastated by this crippling, unexpected and unfair tax burden.
Peter Gurtenstein, St. Pete Beach
Weatherford talks refusing Medicaid dollars at Tiger Bay | Sept. 9
Education not a panacea
House Speaker Will Weatherford says that Florida should increase its investments in education so that people can find jobs that will share the cost of their health coverage. Apparently Weatherford doesn't realize that businesses are slashing their contributions to medical benefits left and right.
"Investing" in education is a wonderful idea, but it has nothing to do with refusing federal money for Medicaid. I haven't seen Weatherford actually do anything for education anyway.
Many of those people on Medicaid will never get the kind of education to which he is referring, and those who will are mostly a long time away from completing the kind of education necessary to get a job with good medical benefits.
It would appear that Weatherford has no idea of who is actually on Medicaid. Some are not only poor but also are elderly or disabled, and incapable of getting such an education.
Or maybe, he just doesn't care.
Joe Crites, Clearwater
Citizens premiums to rise 6.3% | Sept. 10
This is the 'good' life?
So Citizens is going to sell out policies to other providers, and they will raise our rates.
Duke will also be raising our rates (unless our lawmakers vote this down) by as much as $10 a month, this after we have been charged for a nuclear plant (despite the fact that private companies should pay for their own improvements and systems). First developers begged us to retire and enjoy the "good" life in Florida. Now they are raising rates to drive us out.
Rosalie M. Ceschi, Largo
Sacrifices aren't shared | Sept. 9
History always repeats
The letter writer states it well: Few people living today really understand what war entails.
One of my earliest memories is of my first-grade teacher, a pretty, dark-haired young woman. And somehow, through many decades I still see the diamond ring she wore, and felt awe at being told that her lover had been killed in the war. Which war? The one our then-president (Woodrow Wilson) called "The war to end war."
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon