Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

An unseemly sowing of suspicions

Re: Oil men, Jan. 25.

It is one thing for you to have a principled opposition to the policies of a sitting president who represents a different but popular point of view. It is quite another thing to publish a hatchet job that was created by the Los Angeles Times, which has the least regard for the truth of any major newspaper in the United States.

This story is a low class work where even the most innocent activities of the Bush family are described in words designed to create suspicion among the many readers who never look beyond emotion-provoking rhetoric.

In this endeavor you are not a credit to your community nor your profession. Shame on you. You really should publish something equally provocative of a counterbalancing nature to give your readers a chance to hear another point of view.

Donald Worthington, Palm Harbor

Lives for oil

Re: Oil men.

Thanks for publishing the article by Kevin Phillips of the Los Angeles Times. It should be required reading for voters who are not aware of what is really happening under the present leadership.

The article was most revealing about how the members of the Bush family have always used their government and political ties to enhance their wealth through their contacts in Middle East.

The association of the Bush family with so many oil and defense industries is something of an eye-opener. It's easy to understand why Halliburton was awarded a noncompetitive contract. I wonder how many noncompetitive subcontracts were placed by Halliburton to others in the "circle of friends."

It is even more obvious that the relationships they developed within their "closed circuit of influentals" has prevailed over a long period of time. The result was that we entered into a war to take over control of the vast oil reserves of the region _ not because of any threat to our country or weapons of mass destruction.

This greedy war is being pulled off by sacrificing the lives of more than 500 service personnel thus far. Is anyone counting the many wounded and maimed this war will produce? What a price to pay for a barrel of oil.

Peter B. Ferrara Sr., Belleair Bluffs

"Shocking' revelations

After reading Kevin Phillips' Oil men, I for one was left shocked and aghast. Who would have ever believed that men in the oil industry would have close ties with the leaders of oil producing countries?

Dale Robbins, Sarasota

Chilling implications

Re: Oil men.

I found this article chilling in its implications of the president's and his family's personal and business connections to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait _ and specifically to Osama bin Ladin's family.

Osama bin Ladin has been quoted as citing the reason for the terrorism and specifically 9/11 as the "infidel is on sacred ground," namely, the Saudi Arabian base that the first President Bush established in the first Gulf War to defend Kuwait and, of course, oil interests.

Do these personal and business connections with the Saudis and Kuwaitis have anything to do with the fact that we have lagged in pursuing Osama and al-Qaida and instead have entered into this flawed quagmire in Iraq which this president and his administration (many of whom are from Bush I's administration) have repeatedly connected to terrorism and al-Qaida through outright lies and innuendo?

Let's see. how many visits have there been to Crawford, Texas, to W's home, by Saudi Arabian sheiks?

I personally cut out last Sunday's picture of the 500 pairs of soldiers' boots representing those who have died.

Tell me again, why have these American sons and daughters died?

L.H. Langlais, Dunedin

Vintage socialism

Re: Sure cure for health care, Jan. 25.

"The more who have it (health insurance), the less it costs." So says Martin Dyckman. If you find that absurd, consider the source, a dedicated socialist.

"Some don't think they need it; others simply can't afford it," Dyckman writes. Forcing others to buy health insurance for those who won't buy it themselves and for those who Dyckman and his ilk say can't afford it is vintage socialism.

Socialism doesn't make anything cheaper. By its very nature, it can't. It requires a vast bureaucracy, and it discourages the brightest and the best from their productive roles in society.

Even if you believe the nutty proposition that universal government-forced health insurance makes that insurance cheaper itself, the costs are distributed elsewhere. We know from experience that where it exists, prices of products are higher, unemployment is higher and taxes are higher.

Universal health care advocates never say how complete it shall be or how timely. Once again we know from experience that where it exists there are long waits for treatment in some cases, and some treatments are not available. Everyone suffers, even those who had previously bought insurance. Everyone suffers except the elite who, because of their money and connections, will get immediate treatment for whatever they want.

Francis J. Sullivan, St. Petersburg

Medicare for everyone

Re: Sure cure for health care.

Finally. Martin Dyckman is the lone voice of reason in the political noise about health care coverage in the United States. He is correct that President Bush's proposal (for refundable tax credits to help low-income people buy their own insurance and for full tax deductibility for wealthier people who buy catastrophic health care coverage) will only increase insurance costs without providing adequate coverage for everyone. It really isn't all that difficult, but most political leaders don't seem to want to acknowledge the simplest solution.

The only way to make coverage affordable for everybody is to see that everyone has it. Nothing short of national, universal health coverage will work.

The most financially efficient method for national universal coverage is to expand Medicare for everyone. Everyone already pays; everyone should receive the benefits.

And as Mr. Dyckman notes, "every objective analysis has concluded this would cost less than we're spending now" and simply, "it would be the right thing to do."

Robert Clark, Tampa

Medicare too wasteful

Re: Sure cure for health care.

I agree with Martin Dyckman's assessment that health care needs to be changed, but I disagree on how to do it. Dyckman contends Medicare is successful, "running more efficiently and with lower overhead than anything else about heath care." I disagree. Myriad articles show the federal government wastes $13-billion a year in Medicare mismanagement. Citizens from Canada and England come here for treatment that they can't receive in their homelands. Moreover, those countries must ration care. Imagine if your grandmother at 72 needed a hip replacement. In a single-payer system, those resources would be diverted to someone younger. I am not sure that America is ready to accept such a system.

If we followed Dyckman's model, at best, we will all have equal access to substandard care. Why should our goal be substandard care?

My solution would allow for lower premiums, less government waste and more choice. First, I propose that everyone have coverage, either through an employer or individually. If everyone has coverage, which can be monitored annually via federal tax returns, the cost of the insurance will drop tremendously. Second, if you must use government funding (which is risky), you would have the government subsidize the insurance companies for each individual, much the way Medicare HMOs work. This can capitalize on the efficiencies of the current private insurance sector and let individuals to pick the level of coverage (allowing choice).

Charles Hurst, Brandon

A job well done

Re: The last full measure of devotion, Jan. 25.

My congratulations for a well done job on your Section H special report.

As both a retired 20-year Army veteran with service in the Dominican Republic (1965) and Vietnam, and a retired sports writer/columnist for a major daily newspaper for more than 20 years, I commend Alex Leary for a well-presented piece of journalism.

It was not overdone, as it might have been. And your photos and layout did the story justice. Kudos to all concerned.

Again, from someone who has been on both sides, congratulations.

W.L. (Bill) Pickett, Crystal River