Many not amused by Obama as Joker | Aug. 5, story
Caricature controversy goes overboard
I am infuriated. Not because someone has portrayed President Barack Obama as the Joker, but because of the stink that is being made about it.
Political figures are routinely drawn in a cartoonish fashion. It's people like state Rep. Darryl Rouson who make it about race. Not every cartoon or negative statement about a black public figure is about race.
Stop using he race card. Every time someone screams "racist" when it's not intended to be, we are getting further into the old "boy who cried wolf" syndrome. This kind of behavior plays right into the hands of those who intend to show the intolerance of the group portrayed.
Steve Korn, Seminole
I read with interest the article about the Barack Obama Joker posters. They reminded me of the "Evil Joker" portrait Vanity Fair printed of President George W. Bush last year.
I tried to find the article you printed speaking out against that but could not find it. Then I remembered where I was living. Silly me.
I cannot believe you made this a news story. When it was about President Bush, you said nothing, but when it's about the "anointed one" — lord forbid!
Was President Bush fair game because he was white? Conservative? Republican? Or is Obama untouchable because he is black? Liberal? Democrat? Its got to be one or a combination of these.
Just let me know so I will understand. I want the guy to do well, so the country will do well. I just don't feel the need to kiss his image every night before I go to sleep.
Les Rayburn, Dade City
Obama needs new rallying cry | Aug. 5, commentary by Doyle McManus from the Los Angeles Times
AMA has many reasons for seeking a better system
While it is critically important to seniors and their physicians that health reform legislation repeal the broken Medicare payment formula that threatens seniors' access to care, it is only one of the reasons the American Medical Association supports the House bill, contrary to what Doyle Mc-Manus writes.
The AMA is working for every American to have affordable, high-quality health care coverage, and the House bill helps achieve that goal by expanding coverage through a choice of plans and eliminating denials based on pre-existing conditions. Other key provisions supported by the AMA include addressing physician workforce concerns and promoting patient wellness and disease prevention.
There is more work to be done after Congress' August recess, and the AMA will stay constructively engaged to make sure the final legislation improves the system for patients and the dedicated physicians who care for them.
J. James Rohack, M.D., president, American Medical Association, Chicago
Health care debate
Offer tort reform
As a person who generally prefers the Democrats, I support the outlines of most of what has been proposed for a restructuring of America's wildly expensive health care system.
I have, however, been disappointed that the Republicans have been so uncooperative and seem to see health care not as an issue that impacts the public but as a way to "weaken" or "destroy" the Barack Obama presidency.
But having said that, I do think that the Democrats need to develop concessions to try to build some limited consensus with those Republicans who are more interested in the public good than political vendettas.
One place to start might be with tort reform. Lawyers (and their money) have been big supporters of the Democrats, but might it be a good idea in terms of saving medical care reform to back off and put limits on settlements for malpractice? This would make many doctors happy and would be welcomed by the Republicans.
Tort reform could be an important concession by the Democrats and certainly is a concept that has some merit. The fear of medical practitioners being sued is not having a positive impact on the practice of health care in this country. It leads to too many expensive tests and increased costs for health care.
Michael Francis, Homosassa
Cash for Clunkers
Another rush job
In noting that most of the Cash for Clunkers program is going to Japanese automakers, I'm trying to figure out who's less of a patriot here: Congress for allowing our tax dollars to go to foreign nations or citizens for spending their money to do the same when our country needs to pull together and help ourselves.
To me this program is just another piece of legislation that was rushed to get it out at any cost.
Maybe we all need to slow down and think through this and other pending bills that are being rushed to a vote.
Thom May, Clearwater
Poor deal for the poor | Aug. 5, letter
Missing the point
The Cash for Clunkers program has two objectives. The first is to encourage people to make the switch from gas-guzzlers to more fuel-efficient vehicles. The second is to stimulate the economy by boosting auto sales and manufacture. It's not meant to help "working stiffs" upgrade their transportation.
I would be considered "rich" or "upper middle class" by the writer of the subject letter, but I earned every penny of it.
By the way, I recently upgraded from a "clunker" to a vehicle on the approved list but made my move as a concerned citizen, not someone looking for a handout. I did not receive $4,500 nor am I crying about it.
Stephen Small, Indian Rocks Beach
A couple of comments on your Aug. 5 data on the Cash for Clunkers program.
First is the potential saving of 700,000 tons of carbon emissions out of a yearly total of 6.4 billion tons. While sounding impressive, this equates to a saving of only 0.011 percent of the total emissions and will have a negligible and immeasurable impact on the environment.
Second, you show that a ranking of the top five new car buys has one Ford model and four Japanese cars.
I thought the program was intended to give an economic boost to the U.S. auto industry, in particular the partly government owned companies of General Motors and Chrysler.
I hope the Japanese appreciate our helping them and reciprocate by purchasing their cars from U.S. companies, but I very much doubt it. It just looks like one more well intended but poorly administered government program costing U.S. taxpayers $1 billion or perhaps $3 billion.
Desmond Fowles, Palm Harbor