Crist loses his bearings | June 7, Tim Nickens column
Floridians need plan for change
Editor Tim Nickens gives an insightful analysis of Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to savage Florida's future by throwing in with the developers and the Realtors; and of his pulling away from his relationship with Community Affairs Secretary Tom Pelham.
He reveals how the system is broken in certain specific ways, adding to earlier plaints from editors, columnists and letter writers. So now is the time to propose some ways to fix the broken system. Or is this just more wheel spinning without traction, action without meaningful movement?
I'm fearful that you editors and columnists are just going to forget about the broken system, and when the time comes, will tell us "Your vote makes a difference."
Allay my fears, take a stand and exert some leadership. Start a movement to challenge and change the system. We need a system that is not based on who can raise the most money without showing any understanding of the responsibilities of the office.
Mortimer Brown, Lutz
Crist needs a Plan B
Tim Nickens' column regarding Gov. Charlie Crist selling out all Floridians to the developers and other special interest groups he's counting on to finance his political aspirations might just as well be titled "Crist loses his marbles."
What was he thinking?!
Nickens sums it up well: "The bottom line is the damage is done. The developers win, Floridians lose and Crist is a terrible disappointment even to many of his supporters."
I hope the governor has a Plan B for his political career because I cannot possibly imagine Florida's voters will be sending him to Washington in the next election.
Duane Bitter, Dunedin
Flatline of America | June 7, Perspective story
An unreal assessment of the nation's future
Dan Neil's pessimistic analysis on the future of an America closely aligned with the demise of General Motors has little basis in reality.
While it is true that the marketing departments of the Big Three have always attempted to tie consumerism to patriotism with a buy-American mentality, the market has dictated otherwise and imports have won through better quality.
GM's real problems are rooted in its poor products and massive expenditures on retired workers. Neil's response is to suggest that if Al Gore had won the White House in 2000, this country would have universal health care and all would be golden. That's like arguing that the lifestyle of the average Cuban is better because they too have "free" health care. Anyone driving a Cuban car out there?
Given that many imports (Subaru, Toyota and Honda among them) are made in America by largely nonunion employees, the arguments for massive government intervention just do not hold up.
Under Obamunism, I fear we have only seen the beginning.
Gary Compton, Wesley Chapel
Life of hate talk before shooting June 11, story
The toxic power of hate
Your chilling story on the front page must surely warn all members of society of the mortal bottom line to harboring hate in our own hearts or ignoring it in the hearts of those around us.
Death, in one form or another, is always the bottom line of hate. At some point in James von Brunn's long, bitter life, he must have had some intimation of how hate was eating away at his soul. I believe, also, that at some earlier point in his life, von Brunn must have at least some sense of how hate would take control of his life.
As sure as night follows day, hate will destroy us as individuals as well as kill the innocent people around us. How many more James von Brunns, Timothy McVeighs, etc., are out there, smoldering?
May whatever God each of us worships free us from it, even if the god one worships is merely the one of our own sense of survival.
Desmond Daly, pastor, Christ the King Church, Tampa
Fla. may export felons | June 7, story
Try a saner prison policy
As if our state budget crunch weren't bad enough already, a bill sponsored by state Sen. Victor Crist would now have us paying other states to house Florida inmates. Although he says this is safety valve and a last resort, has the Legislature considered any other measures to reduce our prison population, such as eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and decriminalizing some of our nonviolent drug related crimes?
The Legislature continues to talk "tough on crime," but our lawmakers are actually tying the hands of our judges and prosecutors by establishing mandatory prison sentences and "guideline" prison requirements for many crimes that might be better dealt with by more innovative methods.
Our prisons are full of nonviolent drug offenders who are harming no one more than themselves. We spend billions of dollars investigating, prosecuting and housing these people.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, 30 to 40 percent of all current prison admissions involve crimes that have no direct or obvious victim other than the perpetrator. The drug category constitutes the largest offense category, with 31 percent of all prison admissions resulting from such crimes.
Is it a coincidence that CCA, the privately owned prison company, has long backed this plan that Crist says he thought up all on his own?
Rather than sending our problems and our money out of state, let's address the underlying issues in a sane and sensible manner.
Randall Grantham, attorney at law, Lutz
On gays in military, Obama disappoints June 12, editorial
A benighted policy
I, too, am disappointed that President Barack Obama is not agreeing to challenge the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell." I remind the St. Petersburg Times" that Alan Simpson (a Republican senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997) wrote in your paper urging that this policy be overturned (End the military's ban on gays, March 15, 2007).
He wrote: "According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under 'don't ask, don't tell,' including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. … My God, we'd better start talking sense before it is too late. We need every able-bodied, smart patriot to help us win this war."
Amen! Obama should follow through on the campaign pledge he made to end this benighted policy!
Jessie W. Bush, Sun City Center
Outspoken pastor vents, then is sorry June 12
Apology not accepted
Imagine if Vice President Joe Biden were to stand up at a large conference and say "Them n------ ain't going to let him talk to me," and the afterthought was "I meant no harm or ill-will toward the African-American community." The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson would all be yelling, racist!
Well, Rev. Wright, you are an anti-Semite. Shame on you. Your apology is not accepted.
Gail Rubinsky, St. Petersburg