Hats off to the military and its vaccine efficiency
Many let down by rumors of shots | March 22
For several weeks, my son-in-law had been trying to convince my brother and me to go for our COVID vaccinations. We kept putting it off. We were concerned it might be a long and chaotic day. We both have handicaps and use canes and even a brace from time to time. At my son-in-law’s insistence, we agreed to have him take us to the FEMA vaccination site at the Tampa Greyhound Track. Long and chaotic it was not!
We were graciously taken care of by many efficient men and women from MacDill Air Force Base. There was also a very kind and thoughtful group of ladies who saw to everyone’s needs. It was so streamlined and efficient that I was amazed. No chaos, no stress! We were in, vaccinated and transported back to our vehicle within an hour. I am so grateful for this well-planned and important day in my and my brother’s lives. I feel an urgency to share our experience and to say thank you to all the caring people we encountered.
Mary P. Sabatini, Tampa
How to find your cell phone
Can I lose my landline yet? | Perspective, March 21
You need that land line phone to call your cell phone when you can’t find your cell phone in the house.
Michele Vatalaro, Tampa
Police on the local beat
Tarpon Springs chief retires, reflects on 32 years | March 22
The article on the retirement of Tarpon Springs Police Chief Robert Kochen got me thinking. I sometimes wonder whether we need the various layers of police. We have city police departments, county sheriffs, state police and a range of federal police agencies. Are they all necessary? Isn’t that too much of a good thing? Each has its own purposes defined in our laws, but it’s helpful to be reminded of the critical role that local law enforcement plays in our communities. This excellent article reminds me that the most effective policing is local, as close to regular people as possible. Let’s all celebrate the career of Chief Kochen, an excellent example of the value of public service to our communities.
Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport
No mending needed
Border impasse for Biden | March 22
I cannot believe your lead front-page story refers to President Joe Biden trying to manage a “surge of migrants” at our southern border while “mending the immigration system it inherited.” Former President Donald Trump left an immigration system that worked far better than any in the past. It needed no “mending,” just be continued, enforced and backed by those who believe in law enforcement over “standing down” in the face of crime and anarchy.
James Connolly, Tampa
No. 1 but not for long
President seeks to redefine, reassert U.S. standing with rivals China, Russia | March 21
America is close to being finished as the No. 1 super power. China will soon take the top spot. This is all because of very weak leadership from the Biden administration. It is an historical fact that all great empires fall. Now it is happening to the United States.
Gary Bogard, Spring Hill
People need these benefits
COVID-19 could cost you benefits | March 21
I found many things to upset me in the article about COVID unemployment benefits. If a woman is two months’ pregnant and gets laid off, she could be marked ineligible for benefits? Could she not be ready to work for six more months before having her baby? Did no one ask the governor why a husband and wife applying for benefits on the same computer are rejected for fraud? Why is the Department of Economic Opportunity not answering questions? Saving money by not paying benefits to people who need them and actually qualify for them is very mean-spirited.
Thomas Horsley, Tampa
Why NATO matters
NATO, an alliance that makes America stronger, safer | Perspective, March 21
This column by the NATO secretary general was informative and timely. Every president since Harry Truman welcomed the political, military and economic strength that this U.S.-European collaboration provided. The 45th president was convinced NATO was “taking advantage” of the United States, and membership of this trans-Atlantic alliance was “obsolete and expensive ... a waste of time.” Consider that NATO keeps watch over Russia, North Korea and China — three nations the last president placated, not addressing their foreign policy or human rights issues. As we become a more global community, we need NATO more than ever.
D. Adonis Ordóñez, Tampa
What really drives the debt
GOP’s sudden embrace of earmarks is worrisome | Column, March 22
Jonah Goldberg writes that entitlements have always been the main drivers of national debt. Baloney. He ignores the fact that the International Institute of Strategic Studies put the 2020 U.S. defense budget at $738 billon. The combined defense budgets of China, India, England, Russia and France are $434.5 billion. There is no legitimate reason for us to spend so extravagantly on defense. It is corporate welfare to the military-industrial complex that helps drive our national debt.
Barry Cobb, Riverview