GOP senators' health care pressure builds | May 8
Lives are at stake with health bill
Americans will die as a result of the American Health Care Act if it passes, at least according to the American Journal of Public Health and Harvard. They estimate that 45,000 people die each year as a result of being uninsured, and that's before so many more Americans would lose their coverage under the AHCA.
I know firsthand what it's like trying to get care for a serious illness without insurance due to a pre-existing condition. I was a gainfully employed and taxpaying social worker when, at age 40, I became ill. My illness was hard to diagnose and it progressed. Eventually I had to leave my job and lost my health coverage. It got so bad that I was bedridden for most of the day. Over the next three years, uninsured, in pain and without resources, I was forced to seek emergency and free clinic services, to no avail. I still could not afford to pay for the tests they recommended and I had long since depleted my savings. I was out of options and at the mercy of my illness.
Eventually, at death's door, with an acute systemic infection, vital organ damage and complete disability, I was diagnosed with a mass that had extended in to my skull and sinus cavity. The delayed assessment and treatment had resulted in permanent damage. I am lucky and grateful to be alive and to have affordable coverage now through the Affordable Care Act. I could have been one of the 45,000.
AHCA is cruel and inhumane. Please fight for health care for all.
Elizabeth Isom, St. Petersburg
Legislators' secret deal hurts USF | May 9, editorial
Guidelines need revision
As a recently retired secondary educator of many years, I read with interest how USF was victimized by a questionable evaluation system. I think that dangling millions of dollars in front of universities to improve graduation rates is a dangerous practice, and these evaluation systems need their own re-evaluating. Under the current system, school leadership feels pressure to deliver desired statistics and instructional personnel feel the heat to pass along to get along. You do not maintain standards and institutional integrity this way.
The secondary grading system of schools is just as bad, as graduation rates, number of suspensions and number of students in advanced classes are used. This results in ignoring discipline problems, and student scheduling becomes a product of what is best for the school leadership as opposed to what is best for the students.
People with titles and power put these evaluation/grading systems in place, and I wonder if they know the effect they have on administrators, staff and our kids. Nobody ever seems to ask us, and I was available to tell them for 39 years.
James Goeb, Riverview
Trump fires Comey | May 10
There has been a lot of speculation regarding the back story on the president's firing of the director of the FBI, but I believe there is a simple answer.
There have been reports that Donald Trump has recently been yelling at his television screen when seeing the unfavorable direction the Russian investigation is taking. For a person who has always been able to pretend that he directs the course of all events in his life, this was too much. He let his massive ego take the reins and reverted to his pre-presidential persona to destroy someone. The director was targeted because Trump had already removed the other thorns who might have burst the balloon of deception surrounding this presidency.
We have learned in a very brief period that Trump is a man who, once angered, takes no directions or even suggestions from anyone. He acts with incredible speed and rashness. It is then the task of others to answer the tsunami of criticism through misdirection or by devising a Trump line of attack (never defense) in response.
Heaven help us if (when?) some world leader of an armed society enrages the man.
Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa
We are witnessing a constitutional crisis in the making, but not for the reasons that certain scholars, pundits and the media seem to be proffering. The free press is not in imminent danger of being silenced, despite President Donald Trump's constant attempts to marginalize it and render it irrelevant. The judiciary will continue to interpret and enforce the law regardless of efforts by the president on Twitter, and otherwise, to discredit its role and purpose.
The real crisis is brewing in the legislative branch. The abdication of responsibility by Congress to hold the president accountable for his autocratic behavior only serves to enable him. As members of the House and Senate, on the Republican side, stand by and defend Trump out of party loyalty, they are not only in violation of their oath "to support and defend the Constitution," they are effectively sanctioning an abuse of power by the executive branch. Absent a system of checks and balances, our representative democracy falls by the wayside.
Jim Paladino, Tampa
A star on and off the field
The Tampa Bay area can look with pride as "one of its own" is honored this weekend at Yankee Stadium with the retiring of his number as one of the greatest to play the game: Derek Jeter.
Jeter is more than just an athlete; he is a superstar on the field and off. His Turn 2 Foundation, since it began in 1996, has awarded more than $2.3 million to create and support programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol.
While his likeness will be preserved with a plaque at Yankee Stadium, this will be but the forerunner to 2020 when he will surely be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
From time to time I run into to Derek at Starbucks, or the Oxford Exchange or at a movie, and this superstar could not be nicer. Always a smile, a moment to chat. He is gracious young man, this superstar, a Tampa resident and "one of our own."
John Osterweil, Tampa