1. Archive


Economy on fumes - July 6, commentary

In this article, Frank Ahrens is polite enough to remind his audience that Paul Krugman has a Nobel Prize in economics, which he does not, and yet he warns people away from Krugman's ideas because they represent "arguments for more taxpayer-funded stimulus." He's clearly trying to paint Krugman as somehow doctrinaire.

But has it occurred to him that perhaps - just perhaps - the internationally acclaimed expert on economics is right? That more stimulus, not less, might actually right this economy, which, by both men's analyses, is going nowhere?

Ahrens would do well to remember that this economic crisis emerged not from a period of "liberal" economic regulation, but from an era of free market fundamentalism. He doesn't have much of a leg to stand on dismissing the ideas of someone who perceives the need for continued government intervention, especially when, by Ahrens own assertion, government intervention is the only thing that has helped so far.

Andrew McAlister, Temple Terrace

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Punishing the jobless

July 7, Paul Krugman column

Economist playspolitical games

What Paul Krugman neglects to state is that Senate Republicans had offered up a slightly different version that included paying for the unemployment benefits extension out of unallocated stimulus funds.

Rather than discussing this option, Senate Democrats opted to wait for the replacement of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, which would make the passage of their version more likely.

Let the unemployed eat cake in the meantime.

It is difficult to take the writings of Paul Krugman seriously due to his extreme partisanship.

Stephen Small, Indian Rocks Beach

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Gulf oil spill

Just stop the oil

Now we have appointed another politician, former Sen. Bob Graham, to look into the oil spill. The politicians' main priority is to find someone to blame for our problems.

The real priority for us as Americans is to stop the oil from flowing from the well. The logical solution is to gather a working group of scientists and engineers and come up with and implement actions that will stop the flow. Having worked with such scientific groups, I can predict that the problem could be solved in one to two weeks of intensive research and repair work.

Washington, get your priorities straight and do your job.

Don Keegan, Seminole

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Giant oil skimmer is being tested in gulf

July 4, story

Environment first

About this A Whale they are bringing into the gulf from Taiwan, is it big enough? And does size really matter? Can any vessel, or any number of vessels, collect, clean and recycle the Gulf of Mexico now that BP has been adding chemical dispersants (against the advice of the EPA) for three months plus?

There are already quite a number of vessels and businesses in Louisiana that specialize in collecting and separating oil from seawater. With thousands of oil wells off that part of the Gulf Coast they were already busy before this spill. Usually, they profit from not only cleaning up the mess but selling the oil they collect as well. Currently, however, they cannot carry out business-as-usual with the storage and processing problems presented by chemical dispersants.

What's the point of having an EPA anyway? Why wasn't their advice backed up by President Barack Obama and/or the United Nations or somesuch power? Environmental issues should be the biggest thing on everyone's agenda; our survival depends on it. And half of what they are doing up there, including this big boat thing, is just for show.

Alda Thomas, Clearwater

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We need action, not prayer

Recently, Florida's Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp asked that citizens "pray" because of the oil spill.

We do not need "prayer." We need action. We need people to roll up their sleeves and get to work. This disaster was caused by humans, not "angry gods," and humans will fix it. And if we have any clue at all in our brains, we will change the world so that it does not happen again.

David Hayes, Zephyrhills

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Crist rides tide on oil spill - July 2

Governor's farce

Every reader who has been subject to Charlie Crist's daily photo-ops must be wondering why our property taxes have not "dropped like a rock," as the "governor of the people" promised. No doubt they're also living in fear of the time bomb known as Citizens Insurance, Crist's most dangerous legacy, which chased most insurers out of the state.

Meanwhile, Cuba is planning to drill for oil about 60 miles south of Key West while Crist says we must cancel all offshore drilling. And Cuba is just the first to make this move. Regardless of this fact, Crist continues to search for any and every photo-op possible. In fact, one wonders how he missed joining the group of naked cyclists who recently rode the streets of Manhattan in protest of the oil spill and BP.

The last thing Florida needs is the spectacle of Charlie Crist going two out of three falls in a knock-down, drag-out battle with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer every time a media camera is turned on in Washington. Please, enough of this farce.

Dan Calabria, South Pasadena

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More women urged to get bone density test

July 6, story

Follow the funding

A government task force now says more women should be tested for bone density problems that might lead to fractures, and the group also appears to be trying their best to include men in such routine testing. The story refers to the group as an "independent, government-appointed" panel.

Anyone with a computer and a few minutes of spare time can check out the head of the panel, Ned Calonge. He and his colleagues have participated in studies in the past that were funded by Genentech, which produces Boniva, the well publicized osteoporosis drug.

Independent? Hardly. As is true for most health studies, the money that pays for the research comes from the companies that will benefit from the "independent" panel's findings. Routine bone screenings may not do much for women's health, but it surely will improve the financial health of drug companies such as Genentech.

Lynn Stratton, St. Petersburg