State of the Union address
Without cooperation we're lost
After listening to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Wednesday and his town hall speech at the University of Tampa on Thursday, I can't think of anything negative about what he is trying to do.
He wants to cap student loans at 10 percent of their salary, and after 20 years the loan is forgiving. What is wrong with that? He wants the high-speed rail from Tampa to Orlando and eventually to Miami. What is wrong with that? He wants the troops pulled out of Iraq by August. What is wrong with that? He wants the Republicans to come to him with a plan on health care. What is wrong with that? He wants more jobs for Americans. What is wrong with that?
Immediately after his speech on Wednesday, the Republicans were at it already, saying he did not talk about health care until 25 minutes into the speech. So what? He started with jobs. That is the most important agenda at this moment. Why is it that no matter what this president does, it is wrong in the eyes of the Republicans?
The president said something that I have been saying all along. We have to stop attacking the opposite party. We must work together to get this country moving forward, but if every bill that Obama puts out there is voted down by the Republicans, nothing will get done.
And in 2012 if a Republican wins, it will be the same thing: The Democrats won't like anything the Republican president is doing. I just think the Republicans and Democrats are out for their own party no matter who it is. But I believe President Obama truly wants to change that attitude.
If you look at it, everything the president wants to do is to help all Americans. But the people who listen to the talk shows don't get it and, hey, believe the Limbaughs and Becks of the world. Good luck.
Steve Pappas, Spring Hill
Obama reconnects with hurting nation Jan. 28, editorial
President seemed to be arrogant to the opposition
The Times editorial headline caught my eye. I listened intently to President Barack Obama's entire State of the Union speech and I did not hear a "reconnect." Instead I heard a reprimand to all conservatives who do not subscribe to his socialist agenda. He came off as rather arrogant!
Also, I was embarrassed for the Supreme Court justices who were chastised for their recent ruling concerning corporate spending on campaigns. Whether you agree with the ruling or not, the comments were out of order.
Rich Pearson, Weeki Wachee
State of the Union address
Health care failure
President Barack Obama is a terrific communicator, but on health care, he made a puzzling challenge: He asked if anyone had a better proposal, which would control costs, be deficit neutral, cover the uninsured and truly reform our ailing health system, to tell him.
However, there is an obvious fix on all of these points that has been chosen by the rest of the developed world. It is truly universal, would provide a Cadillac plan to every citizen and has major tort benefits and real cost control. It is the only proposal that is really fiscally responsible: a single-payer system.
However, in spite of his rhetoric, he will not listen to the people and will not allow single-payer to be compared to the corrupt proposals worked out in secret with lobbyists, which he promotes. They would leave 25 million uninsured, medical bankruptcies would continue, long-term care would be cut, some Medicare plans would be hurt, insurance policies would go up in price as the industry warns. Obama and Congress should listen to the people for change "we can believe in."
Ray Bellamy, M.D., Tallahassee
State of the Union address
Hampered by hate
As I watched the faces of the Republicans during the State of the Union address Wednesday night it became increasingly obvious to me that it's not so much that they disagree with the president, they hate the man.
I started wondering where all this hatred is coming from. Is it because he's black, an outsider, smarter than they are? I don't think so.
It finally occurred to me that they are so hateful because Barack Obama's election was a total repudiation of many of their core values, including the benefits of the so-called free market economy, deregulation of the financial systems, and general support of the corporate takeover of the government.
This hatred is getting in the way of any real progress. These people work for us, and it's time they start acting like it.
James Porter, Clearwater
Court did not open doors to foreign campaign donors | Jan. 27, PolitiFact
It isn't often that I become puzzled by the reasoning in a PolitiFact column, but I sure was about the argument in this one. It analyzed President Barack Obama's statement concerning foreign campaign donors: " 'Even foreign corporations may now get into the act' of spending unlimited amounts for political purposes in the United States."
In rating this "barely true" you must be interpreting this statement as his declaration that the Supreme Court ruling actually now permits such spending on American political campaigns. But an equally plausible interpretation, and one that I made, is that the president is warning that the Supreme Court ruling may, in the sense that it may possibly, allow this.
Indeed you seem to accept this meaning and actually agree with it when you write at the end of the column that "Obama's claim about foreign campaign spending is a reasonable interpretation, and nothing more." If you accept that second intention, you should rate the statement as true.
Ron Milavsky, Tampa
Battle erupts over forced hospital stay for pregnancy | Jan. 27, story
This woman had legal rights violated by a Florida judge who forced her to stay in the hospital against her will and against her right as a U.S. citizen.
This is a continuing battle for women's rights in the state of Florida. Once again the Florida court system is triggering a polarizing debate over a woman's right to choose. She should fight against the Florida court that approved this most destructive ruling against a woman's rights.
I hope women stand up against this unjust ruling.
Susan Cortellini, Clearwater
Is FCAT on the way out? | Jan. 27, story
A move forward
It is good to see that Florida is following the lead of Maryland, where I taught for more than 30 years, and four other states in abandoning tests like the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FACT).
By replacing this antiquated and misguided assessment with a more relevant series of standardized end-of-course exams, educators and students, as well as boards of education, can better determine the success or failure of any given course.
The only drawback I can ascertain in going forward with this plan is that so much money and time have been given to an assessment that has proven so unusable for what was intended to do.
Earl A. Myers Jr., Tampa