Dishonest relief recipients cheated American taxpayers
I have a question about the Feb. 14 Associated Press article, "Katrina relief squandered." Why did the first line read: "The government squandered millions of dollars in Katrina disaster aid, including handing $2,000 debit cards to people who gave phony Social Security numbers and used the money for such items as a $450 tattoo"?
It should have read: "Thousands of disaster relief victims cheated American taxpayers out of millions of dollars by lying and using taxpayers' money for frivolous purposes unrelated to disaster relief."
FEMA was faulted for failing to plan for the 900,000 disaster victims who received the debit cards using fraudulent information. The AP routinely scrutinizes every word and deed of federal officials for any speck of dishonesty, but when thousands of citizens are caught plundering the taxpayers, that too is attributed to some failing in government.
If FEMA had taken the necessary precautions to ensure that fraud didn't occur, it would have been villainized for "unfairly" screening who got the money and prolonging the process. Dare I say it? The dishonest Katrina victims had no right to cheat us -- the taxpayers. The principle of honesty doesn't depend on fair weather or the political perspective of the AP.
Letter writer is wrong about Canadian system
The Feb. 14 letter in response to Charles Gangarossa's Q&A column was as misguided as the article it criticized. Though the Canadian health care system is far from ideal, the United States, with its Medicare and Medicaid programs, has a government that also "throws billions of tax dollars into its overburdened system every year."
Furthermore, our "emergency rooms are clogged with non-emergency cases" not because of a lack of doctors but because Medicaid makes it an acceptable practice. The regularity with which private HMOs deny medically necessary procedures to protect their bottom lines makes the wait suffered by our northern neighbors seem rather charitable in comparison. The question is then, since we already suffer many of the shortcomings of the Canadian system, yet enjoy none of the benefits: Is that what we want?
National Fuel profits are no big surprise
Is it any wonder National Fuel's profit rose 14 percent in the last quarter, as reported in the Feb. 10 News? My last fuel bill rose a whopping 70 percent over December's bill for a month that has gone on record as the warmest January since 1930. To add insult to injury, included in my bill was a $23.12 charge for "weather adjustment." A National Fuel representative told me the charge was added because "the weather was unusually warm so the company had to cover the cost of the fuel it bought and did not use." Go figure! Along with an increase in my city assessment, user fee, water bill and county taxes, why on earth would anyone want to settle in this once great state and city? It is sad, so sad.
America needs a leader who can truly lead
Throughout our history, men of greatness have risen to the occasion to lead our nation in times of peril. America now faces such a moment and we cry out for such a leader. It is evident that our president and the Republicans in power are incapable of uniting this country or competently navigating the waters of these troubling times.
It is unfortunate that when we look to the Democrats, we see a party adrift and leaderless. We see politicians who cling to the failed campaign strategies of the past and who seek a return to power, not by inspiring the electorate to vote for them and their vision, but by voting against that offerred by the Republicans.
America needs a man of courage who can speak truth to power, unite our people and lead us on a new course. America needs a man willing to fight for the heart and soul of our nation, a man willing to put country before party loyalty or personal gain. America needs a man with a vision to inspire and remind us all of what makes America great.
We must remember that there is not a challenge we cannot meet nor an enemy we cannot defeat, when we stand together as a united people.
Richard H. Klauber
Cartoon protesters show lack of civility
What's with all the protests, rampages, violence and senseless killings over a cartoon? It's apparent that these people have an inbred ambition to destroy anything in their path without first considering sane dialogue with those who have "insulted" their beloved Prophet Muhammad. Normal people, of sound mind, would discuss the matter with the party involved rather than take to the streets and inflict unconscionable destruction and the killing of innocent people.
With the mindsets of people like this, one can understand why the Middle East has always been an area of violence and unrest. All this because of a cartoon? Where was all the outcry and protesting after 9/1 1? Where was all the outcry and damnation after the beheading and hanging of hostages? Many more atrocities were perpetrated against the United States and other countries with not a word of consolation or concern; but draw a cartoon of Muhammad, and that gives them the right to create havoc on the innocents?
Andrew J. Caldarelli
Unions have enabled certain rights, freedoms
I am writing in response to the Feb. 14 letter, "Union leader is misinformed about universal health care." Health care in Canada or the opinion of a union official is not the issue. Rather, it is an issue of fairness, equality and devotion to the work you do.
Many CEOs have been investigated for so-called white-collar crimes. Very few are convicted. White-collar crime sickens me. How often have we heard: "I do not recall," or "my accountant was in charge of the books?"
Unions were born because of corporate greed, which unfortunately exists today. Many years ago, corporate goons were hired by management and sent to the homes of sick workers who were persuaded to return or else. Yes, a lot has changed.
Union workers have established a highly skilled work force. Unions are responsible for educational changes, social changes and empowerment of mutual understanding along with a pensionable transition.
The profit motive and corporate greed is alive and well. As long as these factors exist, so will the name union.
Congress should end slaughtering of horses
On Feb. 8, I read a very disturbing article in The News about how the slaughtering of horses will continue despite the fact that Congress voted to halt it -- but not outright. The Department of Agriculture will no longer get funds to pay veterinarians to inspect these live animals. Now, rather than stop this cruel practice, it will simply charge fees to the slaughter houses to do the inspections.
Our lawmakers might have banned it outright if they had watched what these poor horses have to endure before they die. The horrific treatment of these beautiful animals has been well documented by people with hidden cameras. If people in Europe and Asia choose to eat horse meat, let them find it elsewhere. Leave our animals alone.