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Today's Letters: Those in need are shamefully neglected

Published March 30, 2007


Deserving victims still go unpaid March 29, editorial 

The plight of Minouche Noel, who won an $8.5-million judgment but has not received payment from the state of Florida, is inexcusable.

But it is equally true that our nation as a whole is horribly derelict in dealing with such poor souls as Minouche. She is in a wheelchair and cannot navigate in her home because the family does not have the money to reconfigure the rooms to allow for wheelchair access. She has to crawl around the floor in order to get around.

My wife's brother in Scotland had a similar spinal injury, and has to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. But in contrast to Minouche, he is provided by the government with a free motorized wheelchair or new car, specially adapted for his handicap, and his home has been totally renovated for him, including a special shower and a stair lift. He has disability payments for life.

The least our government can do is help a patient such as Minouche through universal health care (which we don't have of course). Shame on us!

Dee Toll, Palm Harbor


Senseless subsidy 

Senate won't curb Medicare expenses March 23, story

This Associated Press story reported: "A move by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., to require well-off Medicare beneficiaries to pay higher premiums for prescription drugs was defeated by a 52-44 vote."

This vote makes no sense to me because this Medicare Part D is an expensive giveaway to those who are well off.

We are becoming more and more a communist state in these United States. It's time for our senators to wise up and look for possible savings in government spending. We should not be subsidizing well-off people.

Michael Shu, Holiday


News is really good 

Elder care claims denied March 26, story

Why did the St. Petersburg Times choose such a negative headline to describe an article regarding the long-term care insurance industry that was full of good news? Of the 10 insurance companies listed showing their complaint history, seven had very small numbers of complaints.

Perhaps a separate story could have been done on Conseco and its subsidiary, Bankers Life and Casualty, as to their own practices. Conseco's 0.29 percent complaint record as reported in your story is not a reflection of the industry.

Long-term care insurance is a product our society will depend upon to provide care and choices for our loved ones. Please do not tarnish the industry's good reputation and instill mistrust in a sound product in your desire to sensationalize a story.

Barbara Haselden, St. Petersburg


Excuses for sale 

Elder care claims denied March 26, story

Your front-page article addressed the problem of insurance claims being denied the elderly. My father once advised me that you should go into business for yourself if you want to get ahead in America. But what business?

I have finally come up with the answer. I am good at making excuses, so I intend to write a book consisting of excuses that insurance companies can use when denying claims. I'm sure the companies would quickly gobble up all my publications. I should make a fortune in my new business.

Morris Grossman, Sun City Center


Help for heroes 

N.Y. mayor asks Senate panel to reopen 9/11 fund March 22, story

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had it right in testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee when he called on Congress to reopen the $7-billion September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which was officially closed to new applicants more than three years ago.

This is an apolitical issue that all Americans can agree on. Every person who participated in and helped at the recovery scene of the 9/11 attack must be fully and fairly compensated for any illness they have or eventually come up with that is related to the heroic efforts they provided their fellow citizens as a result of that tragic day.

It would be wrong not to offer these heroes proper medical care and attention. There cannot be any timetables on this effort. These wonderful Americans deserve better. When we needed them, they never once hesitated. They gave and gave and gave.

Now many are sick, feeling the effects of doing so. We must all stand united and defy any persons or bureaucratic agencies within our government who think differently. These quiet heroes need our assistance and should get it without delay. It's the least we can do to say thank you.

Kevin B. Kamen, Palm Harbor


No need for haste 

Get moving on homeless March 26, editorial

Thanks for the coverage and your "inner circle" opinions. But until your excellent reporting staff has had the chance to cover "where the money has been going" and "how effectively it has been spent," let's give this controversy some oxygen.

I can understand St. Petersburg moving at the "speed of light" in playing catchup with its moral responsibilities to proactive leaders. But I think your decision to push the envelope on which "side to root for" is proving to be very counterproductive to the role of "free speech" and debate.

Let county Administrator Steve Spratt and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker have at it.

Brad W. Bradford, St. Petersburg


A tax too extreme 

Show some sacrifice March 19

As the writer of this letter so eloquently put it, very few people are still supporting the war in Iraq. However, I think that proposing an additional tax on gas (when was the last time we actually saw a tax come off a product once it is put there?) is a bit over the top.

Does the letter writer realize that, with an additional tax, every single service that he needs will be affected? Please consider just the service industry. Not simply the food service workers and retail clerks, but the courier services, newspaper services, cleaning services and, in my case, pet-sitting services, many of which are minority owned.

Small businesses like these were already on the edge of disaster when gas prices hit $3 a gallon. It is a struggle for every small business to keep in the black with unexpected costs (health insurance, food, transportation, etc.). To add an additional tax is just too much.

I understand the thinking behind the proposal. People made significant sacrifices during the two World Wars, but this is not a world war, just a conflict waged by old men who don't have any personal stake in the military and don't have enough courage to stand up and say they were wrong.

Karen Severiens, Dunedin


Don't get bitten 

Senate supports plan for Iraq withdrawal March 28, story

Sen. Joe Lieberman, in opposing a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, commented that a timeline would "snatch defeat from the jaws of progress in Iraq."

This attests to a degree of denial among some members of Congress on the status of the Iraq war. After four years if we are still trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of progress, and not victory, it is time to plan a leave-taking.

Gerard Meyn, Dunnellon


Let Saudis do it

I think it is wonderful that Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is calling for a complete withdrawal of U.S. (infidel) influence from the Middle East.

As soon as Saudi peacekeeping troops are in place throughout the region, I am sure that President Bush would be happy to call our troops home.

Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach


Looks like a waste

I have been reading about the controversy of calling the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq a waste rather than a sacrifice. My dictionary refers to waste as "to consume, spend or employ uselessly or without adequate return," and sacrifice as "the surrender or destruction of something of value for the sake of greater gain."

Anyone who sees a greater gain in Iraq or a reduction in terrorism is being deluded.

Sol Helfand, New Port Richey


Beware Putin 

Police break up anti-Putin protest March 25, news brief

Police in Russia arrested at least 30 peaceful protesters simply because they did not have permission to protest.

This is just more evidence that the current regime in Russia does not respect basic rights such as free speech. Putin is no friend of democracy, and he is certainly no friend of the United States.

Andrew Szarejko, Palm Harbor

[Last modified March 30, 2007, 01:11:58]

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