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OIL WON'T BRING US ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

Drilling down for answers - Sept. 13, Perspective story

This was a very informative piece of newsprint. I admire writer Bob Rackleff, because he cares more about this world than he cares about making a buck. And that is a huge problem with society today: Too many who have the power to change and/or speak use their knowledge, not to improve this world, but only to improve their pocketbooks.

I thought the oil industry would try to promise Florida money and jobs, now that the state is in need of both. Rackleff is correct, the issue is not getting more oil, but using less. It's only the oil industry that wants us to use more, as we cannot now afford what we must use. And we must include the indirect costs of air pollution and health care.

We must realize we are moving away from the oil era, the way we moved away from using wood as fuel, and are moving away from coal, into era of energy alternatives, whatever they may be. And I do believe we need more than one, providing competition so a single energy source cannot have a monopoly on prices.

The idea of becoming energy independent will never come from oil, only from alternatives we create through technology the rest of the world does not possess. If we continue to pursue oil, it will only mean more wars and more destroyed precious lands.

James Demmy, Kenneth City

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Facts for leaders

Thanks go to Bob Rackleff for his thoughtful and fact-backed article last Sunday in the St. Petersburg Times. It should be on the desk of every legislator in Tallahassee.

Our governor, who goes with the winds of the greatest opportunity, would also do well to begin dealing with facts. Starting with the ones that were set forth so clearly in this article. He might even regain some of the respect he has lost lately.

Michael Welch, St. Pete Beach

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Israeli expansion cripples peace hopesSept. 13, Bill Maxwell column

Mideast's dark details

have been left out

So, Israel once again is supposed to unilaterally concede to Arab demands and stop the organic growth of settlements by some 400 housing units?

Drawing sympathy to the Palestinians, Bill Maxwell leaves out the fact that Hamas is holding an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped inside Israel four years ago. He fails to mention reports that Hezbollah has chemical and biological weapons amassed on the Lebanese-Israeli border and he has failed to mention the utter silence of the Arab states while Iran calls for another holocaust of the Jews.

Importantly, Maxwell doesn't mention that the last Israeli unilateral concession - the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza - was met not with peace but with daily rockets into Israeli towns and cities.

We should not forget that the poor Palestinian diaspora has an elected government that the United States and United Nations list as a terrorist organization and who, by charter, is committed to the elimination of the Israeli state.

Maxwell's one-sided view and presentation is properly labeled as propaganda and should have no place in the St. Petersburg Times.

Lou Gerber, Belleair Beach

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Israeli expansion cripples peace hopes Sept. 13, Bill Maxwell column

The real impediment

Once again Bill Maxwell demonstrates his baseless anti-Israel sentiments by claiming that the expansion of Israeli settlements "cripples peace hopes." While their Arab brothers treated Palestinians as pariahs, Israel acknowledged their aspirations to be a people.

The Palestinian refusal to recognize the historical existence of Israel really cripples peace hopes. As Israeli statesman Abba Eban declared, "The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Norman N. Gross, Ph.D., president, PRIMER (Promoting Responsibility In Middle East Reporting), Tampa

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Israeli expansion cripples peace hopesSept. 13, Bill Maxwell column

Settlements are a roadblock

Bill Maxwell focuses correctly on a chief sticking point related to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process: the ubiquitous and ever-expanding Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. This is a flagrant violation of the previously agreed to "road map" toward a two-state resolution.

The Israeli government, in an ongoing attempt to solidify its position and control more and more land at the expense of the Palestinian people (a kind of "squatters rights" mentality), throws up this enormous roadblock to a lasting peace.

I can understand Israel's need for "natural expansion," but not on Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem! The Obama administration must insist upon a stop to further Jewish settlements, period.

John Hayner, Clearwater

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Peace plan calls for divided JerusalemSept. 16, story

Seeing common humanity

The 424-page peace plan for the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs makes me sad. The way to peace is not a material path created with roads or fences or trenches. The road to peace is a spiritual path - a path that says that God's greatest gift is life, and that this planet we somehow live on could be the Garden of Eden if we learn to share it and treat it well.

Until both peoples see the common humanity in one another, that we are all created in the image of God, then there will never be true peace in that region.

Stuart Berger, Clearwater

Useful analyses

As a regular reader of the Perspective section in your Sunday edition, I am writing to commend and thank your staff for assembling thoughtful writing and analysis about important issues for your readers in the Tampa Bay community.

I especially appreciated the opportunity to read In Afghanistan, this man is our future, and Drilling down for answers this past Sunday since the articles provided helpful detail and commentary that is rarely available in other daily media. I think both authors of the articles help greatly to frame the problems in the misguided rush to judgment of our elected and appointed policymakers, and the unintended consequences that have followed or may yet ensue.

I have great doubt that our policymakers will consider the commentary in these articles, increasing the burdens of the American people for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the burdens to come on Floridians for offshore oil exploration and drilling. I hope that your efforts to inform us through such articles will prove me wrong. Until then, keep doing what you are doing in the Perspective section as "Florida's best newspaper."

Fred P. Borchuck, Apollo Beach

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