1. Archive


Push for drilling is well-oiled - Aug. 30, story

One of the ugly little secrets of the oil companies and the politicians who do their bidding involves the promises of some-time-in-the-future revenue for Florida.

Alabama approved the drilling of more than 50 oil and gas rigs, but according to former University of Alabama professor David McGrath (no relation) the oil companies engage in "creative accounting." As a consequence, Alabama has enjoyed little income from the oil contracts.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley announced that the oil companies took Alabama to court and demanded that millions in oil severance taxes received by his state be repaid to the corporations. In 2007, an administrative judge ruled in favor of Big Oil.

Finally, almost all the "drill-baby-drill" politicians know that any oil and gas reserves found off our shores will have virtually no influence on the worldwide price of oil nor will most of the oil and gas pumped here stay in Florida. If a pol says otherwise, he's either lying or he knows nothing about supply, demand, Middle Eastern oil and energy companies.

Bill McGrath, Bradenton

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It's time to start drilling

The arguments against drilling are somewhat confusing. The biggest seem to be accidental spills from tankers and drilling accidents. So being the country bumpkin I am, I tried to put those two into context. Tankers will not be used, so why do the environmentalists continue to talk about them when arguing against drilling? I realize there was a tanker spill in the '90s, but what the heck does that have to do with drilling? The oil will be piped, not shipped. So that's not an argument.

As to drilling accidents, I went back to the old copies of the Times and Tribune and could not find any drilling accidents. There has been drilling in the gulf for 50 years with no major accidents. Technology improves every day. The chances for an accident today are way less than they were 50 years ago, and they didn't have them then.

I don't think we have a choice but to begin to drill as soon as possible.

Leslie Rayburn, Dade City

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Lubricating our politicians

The "well-oiled" campaign by powerful legislators, lobbyists and Texas oil companies to end the 20-year drilling moratorium should alarm those who prize the pristine white beaches of our Gulf Coast.

And what happened to our once "green" governor on this? As his "self-serving choice" for the U.S. Senate seat suggests, Gov. Charlie Crist appears most concerned about his short-term political interests. Might large contributions to his 2010 Senate campaign from these "well-oiled" interests play a role in his changed stance on gulf drilling?

Tony Branch, Madeira Beach

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Obama's approval rating among lowest since WWII, but implications aren't clear Sept. 1, PolitiFact

Put leaders in contextwhen making comparisons

The article addressed the credibility of Newt Gingrich's statement about President Barack Obama's approval ratings during his first seven months in office being among the lowest for a president since World War II. Only Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton had lower approval ratings. To place President Obama's approval ratings in context, you must look at the issues faced by these three presidents.

The only notable long-term issues faced by President Ford were increasing unemployment, inflation and a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. President Clinton sought health care reform that was not acted upon before the Republicans gained a majority in the House and Senate; the bombings of the World Trade Center, the Murrah Federal Building and the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; efforts to balance the federal budget; and the residuum of his sexual conduct.

Before assuming the presidency, Obama's table was already set with the Iraq war and the worst economic crisis since the Depression. His presidency brought initiatives to deal with health care reform, global warming, a new energy policy, a change in direction of our foreign policy ending the war in Iraq, reconstituting the war in Afghanistan, and revamping our military spending.

It should not be surprising that the president's ambitious agenda coupled with America's traditional indisposition to change (even though the majority of America voted for change) and Congress' inability to suitably deliver the change this country needs, would yield less than desirable approval ratings early in the president's term.

Gerard Meyn, Dunnellon

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Obama's approval rating among lowest since WWII, but implications aren't clearSept. 1, PolitiFact

Consider Hoover

A better comparison of President Barack Obama's popularity would be to Republican President Herbert Hoover, who faced what became the Great Depression. I think you will find that his popularity was even worse.

Another problem is that there were such great expectations for Obama that no human being could possibly live up to them.

And because of the way we fund our election campaigns, such little items as multibillion dollar bailouts to the big contributors were predestined.

While I think that many things could have been done better, the "political reality" is that they probably couldn't be.

David Duff, Pinellas Park

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A dream home for the Rays - Aug. 30, story

Questionable plans

Several things occurred to me as I read this article:

- It surprises me that the Stuart Sternberg group and Michael Kalt didn't perform this kind of demographic analysis before they purchased a team they now find geographically challenged and in a "substandard facility." It's hard to believe a smart group of investment bankers would not have done their due diligence.

- The chairman of A Baseball Community, Jeff Lyash, has transferred to his company's home office in Charlotte, N.C. Why is he still involved with this local issue? Is it possible he is stirring the pot to set up a local battle that might lead the Rays to move to his new home city?

- These reports always talk about the Rays' "contribution." As became clear in the last go-round for a waterfront stadium, their "contribution" was actually prepaid rent. While up-front funds would be useful for construction, it's like lending the city its own money. That's not really a "contribution."

- Finally, whatever the outcome of this debate, St. Petersburg's taxpayers should be able to vote on any expenditure of public funds (or debt) to be used for a professional sports facility.

Hal Freedman, St. Petersburg

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Government to amputee: Time to get a job Aug. 28, story

Disability is no joke

You couldn't imagine how life is being disabled. Simple things like going to the bathroom and getting dressed are very hard to do. The sores this amputee was talking about are no laughing matter. You spend many days at the doctor's office - you can't be at work and there too.

If you haven't noticed, jobs are real scarce now, even for able people. When your life has been ripped away from you, sometimes you have to do things that make life worth living again.

I read the letters on Thursday about this story, and they sounded heartless. You could never understand unless you, too, were disabled. By the way, I've been stuck in a wheelchair for two years, so I do know what I'm talking about.

Michael Haskell, Lutz

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Government to amputee: Time to get a job Aug. 28, story

Health care is key

I was married to a man who had Social Security disability due to a work accident that left him unable to walk without aid and in constant pain. He waited a long time to file for disability because he believed he could work at something and wanted to. However, after 13 surgeries and unimaginable medical bills he filed for disability to get Medicare so he could manage his life.

If this young man had medical care, I'm confident he wouldn't worry so much about being thrown off the public dole. It's the ability to have medical care that keeps a lot of people on SSI because they can't afford or wouldn't be allowed to get insurance due to pre-existing conditions.

There are so many reasons for a public option in the health care reform debate now taking place and this is just one of them. The money we could save by not sending a check to the disabled who could work would pay for their Medicare.

Kay Kelly, Clearwater

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Kevin White

Make commissioner pay

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White is a typical Florida politician who is less than honest. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy but didn't complete boot camp before being discharged. Claiming he served is a slap in the face to every U.S. serviceman and woman who ever served this country with honor. Add to this the campaign fund fiasco to improve White's wardrobe and lies on campaign expenditure reporting.

The lawsuit against White for sexual harassment of an employee only shows his arrogance and lack of respect for every citizen he represents. Don't forget his prior bad behavior with employees who did not file sexual harassment claims. This lawsuit could end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The County Commission should make White pay his own way on this one, legal fees and all since this was not job-related.

Can anyone say he should resign or be recalled?

Robert Weisman, Tampa

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Case makes county squirm - Sept. 3 , story

Leave out race

Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson do not need the Times' help to throw in the "race card." I am not surprised about Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White's comments in this article, and disregard them.

You, and other media, always write things like, "White was convicted by a nearly all-white jury." If we all are equal, then the words "nearly all-white jury" are unnecessary and only tease those who itch to throw in the race card.

In this case it doesn't matter what the color of the jury is. The jury ruled against White, believing he arranged a trip to sexually harass the young woman and/or he was pimping her to an old man. What color do you have to be to understand that?

In this investigation several violations by White during his time in office would normally prevent him from running for any future office. He obviously has no respect for the offices or the law. If he is re-elected for any government office I will throw in the "white race card" and the "age card" because I will be sick of this commission.

Bob Wolfe, Sun City Center

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Jobless? Stylists taking some off top for nothing - Aug. 29

A classy cut for free

Thanks for the heads up on the free haircuts for the unemployed offered by the Velvet Salon, 406 11th Ave. N in St. Petersburg last weekend

Their generous offer was greatly appreciated, especially from such expert stylists. When my economic situation improves, I will definitely be a steady customer.

Thanks, Velvet Salon and the St. Pete Times. You are a lifesaver!

Gary A. DeVore, St. Petersburg