1. Letters to the Editor

Wednesday's letters: U.S. leading polluter

Carbon dioxide

U.S. is a leading global polluter

I keep hearing that China and India are the big polluters, primarily of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide that causes global warming, ocean acidification and climate change. Since I don't trust the current administration even though I am a Republican, I like to do the math myself.

Here's what I find: The United States is 4.48 percent of the world's population and produces 20 percent of the carbon dioxide, which on a per person average is 4.46 times as much, or 346 percent more, than the average Earth occupant. Together, China and India are 36 percent of the world's population and produce roughly 40 percent of CO2, which on a per person basis is about 11 percent more than the average Earth occupant. Although we are both big polluters, 346 percent versus 11 percent leaves no doubt who the guilty party is.

Burning fossil fuels always produces CO2 since the chemical conversion of carbon and oxygen to CO2 is where the energy comes from to produce electricity. The CO2 will be with us for the next thousand years acidifying our oceans and warming our planet. We see people in China wearing face masks to avoid the airborne chemical tailings produced by their coal-fired plants, but that pollution is dangerous mostly to them and relatively short-lived. The United States is dumping those chemical tailings into our rivers and streams.

Much of the CO2 produced by China is a result of products they make for the rest of the world. Half of the electric cars on the planet are in China. China is converting its power generation to solar and wind; the United States is sticking with fossil fuels.

We are making the world unsafe for ourselves and the rest of the planet.

Lei Kane, Crystal River

My role in fighting opioid abuse crisis | Oct. 24, commentary

What about the money?

It was good that Rep. Gus Bilirakis took the time to respond to the Times editorial on a new drug law. But I wish he had responded to the point concerning the $79K he received from the pharmaceutical industry in the 2016 election cycle. Seems relevant.

Diane Verhoest, San Antonio

Time to say 'enough' | Oct. 26

Cross aisle for compromise

Sen. Jeff Flake's eloquently written analysis of the damage being done to our democracy as the result of allowing a morally bankrupt snake-oil salesman to occupy the White House poses the question of when will we say "enough?" It may take up to all four years, but it will happen, because unlike our current "leader," the American people have a long history of not only admitting mistakes but also correcting them.

A larger and more critical issue is identified in Flake's assertion that "what is best for the country is for neither party's base to get what it wants but rather for the factions that make up our parties to be compelled to talk until we have a policy solution to our problems."

This approach was exhibited by President Ronald Reagan when he was able to pass the 1986 Tax Reform Act — not by bullying and insulting his Republican majority and ignoring his Democratic minority, but by creating a bill that would pass the Senate, 97-3, and then successfully navigate its way through a House of Representatives that was controlled by the Democratic Party.

If Congress created legislation in the manner envisioned by the framers of our Constitution, in a vast majority of cases, it wouldn't matter whether the president was George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Trump because the laws being presented by the legislative branch to the executive branch for signature would be veto-proof.

Ron Motto, Temple Terrace

Puerto Rico

Disasters aren't comparable

The liberal media take any opportunity to dump on President Donald Trump. While they find little to fault in his handling of the hurricane problems in Florida and Houston, they are quick to harp on Puerto Rico. The comparisons are unreasonable.

It wasn't Trump who put Puerto Rico into the financial mess they have. Trump was not responsible for the breakdown of an antiquated electrical grid and decimated infrastructure. He did not make it an island, making logistics almost impossible. I see only unreasonable criticism without any explanation of what could have been done better.

While I empathize with the problem of a devastated Puerto Rico, stop the blame and congratulate the superhuman effort made by FEMA and the military to get the job done.

Don Niemann, Seminole

Spooky times | Oct. 27, commentary

Hope defeats fear

Chapman University's list of 80 things Americans are "afraid" or "very afraid" of is a repudiation of FDR's "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

Chapman promotes the idea that three-quarters of Americans are afraid of corrupt government officials. That's silly. Of course some officials are corrupt; but that's why we have other officials to stop them.

While I plan to avoid many things, I don't live in constant emotional upset about them, which is what the conservative bastion promotes. This is a vital difference between conservatives, who govern by promoting fear, and liberals, who govern by promoting hope.

Jim Perry, Tampa