Exit Clinton: With a snarl or a smile? | May 11, Philip Gailey column
Hillary Clinton should stay in the race
As an active member of the Pinellas Democratic Party and a Hillary Clinton supporter, I most strongly disagree with Philip Gailey's assertion that African-Americans have been taken for granted by the Democratic Party or that they have been poorly treated by the Clintons.
Ever since the administration of Lyndon Johnson, the Democratic Party has been the champion of affirmative action, equal opportunity, equal rights and other acts to level the field for all minorities. We have made many efforts to reach out to minority communities, and I assur e you that we do not take any vote for granted.
As for the Clintons, it is only the distortions of the media that create the appearance of mistreatment. If the press and the so-called "news" programs of cable television would report the facts instead of their biased opinions, there would be a lot less friction and a lot more understanding.
Gailey accuses Hillary Clinton of using race in this campaign for accurately quoting an Associated Press story. Does Gailey feel that the AP story was racist or even somehow biased or inaccurate? Or is his problem simply with race being mentioned?
As for Hillary dropping out of the race, why should she? Hillary won Indiana and is expected to win at least two of the next three primaries. Every time Hillary is expected to win, the Obama campaign and their media surrogates call for Hillary to drop out. Obama cannot win without the superdelegates. He did not win any of the major swing states. Maybe Obama should drop out. Hillary should not.
Paul Starr, Treasure Island
Please let us pick an adult this election
Democrats are saddled
with a troublesome system
Robyn Blumner is telling it like it is, in her usual intelligent and provocative style. The main culprit, however, is the proportional representation required in the Democratic Party's nominating process. This might have been necessary long ago to appease black candidates, but today it is simply an impediment.
Of course, who knew that two such uncommon candidates as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would be the leaders? Clinton perhaps, but Obama has really come up from nowhere, which probably is proof of his ability.
Nonetheless, while the Democrats still have a good chance of winning, given Iraq and the economy, this long, drawn-out competition with all its petty contentions has done nothing to improve their chances.
W.H. Riddell, Tampa
Name that intellectual | May 11
So many viewpoints
I enjoyed the photo spread of "intellectuals" in Perspective. The juxtaposition of Pope Benedict, Abdolkarim Soroush (Iranian religious theorist), and Richard Dawkins (atheist) — with their contrary views — was amusing. I imagined a president soliciting advice from these "experts," and just getting confused over their different versions of "truth."
But I was relieved to read Christopher Hitchens' column in the same issue in which he commented on the phrase "speaks truth to power" and how Noam Chomsky dryly "reminded us that power often knows the truth well enough."
So the above imagined president would need, in addition to the experts, Solomonic good judgment. By the way, my imagination places that solicitation for advice on Fox News, with all participants trying to shout down everyone else. Very enlightening.
Bernard Waryas, Dunedin
Name that intellectual | May 11
When I read over this Perspective feature, I was amazed and perplexed that of the "100 public intellectuals" profiled, the name of Stephen Hawking — physicist, astronomer and a top philosopher was not listed.
What an oversight! He is probably the most intelligent and thought-provoking person alive today. (And no, I don't wish to "vote" — I don't believe in that time-wasting nonsense.) The more informative and better telling article was by Christopher Hitchens on Page 4P.
Glenn A. Paul, Indian Rocks Beach
Master of quick fixes | May 11, Tim Nickens column
A pander meister
Right now Florida's economy is a train wreck and its budget a cataclysm and Charlie Crist declares it is a "golden age" for the Florida Legislature.
Tim Nickens' column takes some baby steps toward criticizing our detached governor but doesn't see the man's overriding principle. He panders to everything to keep his poll numbers high. Even the things Nickens notes as positives are pander plays. Voter rights for felons: pandering to blacks. Open records: pandering to the press. The environment: pandering to Republican leadership as a green alternative in the party.
In the end there is nothing else. This empty suit is entirely unsuited to dealing with these current massive problems. Endless pandering and watching poll numbers would be humorous if things weren't so serious.
Dale Friedley, St. Petersburg
Get ready to dig deeper | May 15, story
Our pockets are empty
Regarding this headline: I can't dig any deeper. The state of Florida has reached the bottom of my pocket. There is no more left. I truly cannot remember a time when our government was so inept at funding itself.
It is time for our politicians to find the necessary funds within the existing money they collect, as we the people have run out.
John Caton, St. Petersburg
College doors slam shut | May 11, editorial
A size problem
Maybe the University of Florida is just too big and needs to be downsized for quality instead of quantity. Of the four "Public Ivy" universities in the South, the University of Florida with some 51,000 students is by far the largest and most unwieldy. By contrast, the University of Georgia only has 34,000 students, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) only has 28,000 students, and the University of Virginia only has 24,000 students.
Even California, with more than 36-million people, has kept the size of its "Public Ivy" state universities in check. For example, UCLA only has 37,000 students and UC Berkeley only has 34,000 students.
These numbers show the real reason why college doors are being shut. The state of Florida has been financing its colleges by packing more students into overcrowded classes, and now that method has finally hit the proverbial brick wall.
Ken Roth, Sun City Center
Beware of Buddies
One thing I have learned from living in Florida for the last 46 years is: Never trust a politician who calls himself Buddy. He isn't your buddy.
Ken Leiser, Seminole
OMG, lolspeak? Just KMN | May 16, commentary
I'm writing in response to Mary Kolesnikova's confused tirade against textspeak. I am disappointed that someone who works in the business of language (she states she is an occasional tutor in schools) has no concept of how languages evolve.
Alterations occur to languages constantly. For instance, centuries ago verbs were conjugated differently from today. Think of all those "thou takest" and "he maketh" you read in Shakespeare. In fact, Early English would be indecipherable to most English speakers today, and rightfully so, because it doesn't describe the world we live in today.
The changes in language between then and now illustrate how communication norms change to allow users to more accurately describe the world in which they live. How ridiculous would it seem to us if a writer of a thousand years ago suddenly appeared and chastised us for altering "cyning" to our present spelling of "king."
As linguist David Crystal states, we are at the start of a language revolution, a revolution humanity has not seen since the invention of the printing press. Educators, Mary Kolesnikova included, should embrace this natural progression rather than fear it. She should involve her students in the conversation of language rather than deny that it is changing and that it should change. If she cannot embrace progress, she, and those like her, will be left behind, wallowing in their misinformed complaints, and :( view of reality.
Adam Graham, St. Petersburg