From straight talk to smear campaign | July 31, editorial
McCain is the one being smeared The editors at the St. Petersburg Times use one of the oldest tactics in the book to try to destroy John McCain. Take everything he says about his opponent, even if its true, and call it "smearing." This is just one more example of no one being able to criticize Barack Obama without being accused of "smearing." (Then throw in a reference to the evil Karl Rove. That always works, too.)
Believe it or not, John McCain is not the only American who questions Barack Obama's political motives regarding Iraq. Democrats like Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to name a few, get all insulted when their political motives are questioned, but their actions and words bear out the truth. Being against the war and wanting it to end is one thing, but constantly undermining and bashing every detail of the war effort is another.
As for Obama "snubbing" wounded soldiers in Iraq, just tell me, yes or no, did the Pentagon prevent him from bringing cameras? That's the evidence. If they did, then his denial that that was the reason does not convince me. If they did not, his stated reason regarding the retired general sounds phony, too. Why couldn't the general just not go with him?
Last, why is referring to an opponent's voting record a smear tactic? Whether Obama is the most liberal, more liberal than Sen. Bernie Sanders or in the top whatever percent, his voting record speaks for itself. He is definitely way to the left. That is when he votes. In the current 110th Congress, he has missed 44.8 percent of the votes. How do we really know where he stands on issues?
Ted Milios, Hudson
John McCain's complete abdication of civility, decorum and honor is disgusting, disgraceful and telling. The outrageous smears that McCain is flinging at Barack Obama speak volumes about McCain's temperament, character and judgment
Conveniently, those lies and smears don't tell us anything about McCain's policies. Perhaps that is because McCain's policies are nothing more than an extension of those of President Bush: harmful to the American worker, hostile to women, accommodating to corporations and Wall Street, and would further decimate the economy, the environment and our valiant military.
As Obama commented on Wednesday: John McCain talks a lot about what he is against, but what is he for?
Eden R. Banks, Parrish
Obama surge risky too | July 27, Philip Gailey column
Obama's flawed foreign policy
I agree with Philip Gailey that Barack Obama's foreign policy does not correspond with reality. Obama is more concerned with getting himself elected than making proposals that would most benefit America.
Obama would quickly withdraw from Iraq to satisfy liberals, but escalate the war in Afghanistan to show he is tough militarily. The only true interest we now have in Afghanistan is to prevent it from being used as a base for international terrorism. We need not establish a democratic government there.
Even though there is currently a lull in the fighting in Iraq, that country is still a vital part of the Middle East. We have substantial political and economic interests there. We cannot withdraw from Iraq until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, since that conflict is the region's central problem.
Obama refuses to put pressure on Israel to make the concessions necessary for peace. The Israeli government wrongly rejected the Geneva accord and now will have to accept a less favorable agreement. For without peace we cannot prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, which would further roil the region to our disadvantage.
Arthur Volbert, St. Petersburg
Lieberman: A man of 2 parties or of none July 27, story by Wes Allison
Key to the alliance
Wes Allison's ode to Sen. Joe Lieberman is most deserving as "the nation's most prominent Jewish politician." Allison, however, does not explain to the reader why Lieberman as early as 1991 and again in 2001 wanted our country to invade Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein, or why the senator opposes Barack Obama's "wanting to leave Iraq" and why he is leading "Citizens for McCain."
Lieberman's multiple assertions (according to Allison) that he supports McCain because of his "friendship and affinity" for the man may be true, but it is not the main reason.
As a student of the Middle East since 1965 and as one who has lived there for more than 10 years, I am convinced that Lieberman, along with past and present Israeli leaders, firmly believes that the three major threats to Israel's security are, in order of importance: Iraq, Iran and Syria. And McCain agrees; ergo, the Lieberman-McCain alliance.
Lieberman's prominence also rests on the fact that he is the most powerful, single voice for the state of Israel in our country.
Arthur Hebert, Largo
Democrats are to blame for the economic mess we find ourselves in as they have spent the last eight years trying to destroy President Bush and destroyed our economy instead. On virtually every issue from providing the energy we need, reducing health care costs and fixing Social Security, Democrats blocked all of it with filibusters, dirty tricks and cheap partisan investigations, which continue today.
What were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats working on last fall? A resolution condemning the nation of Turkey for the Armenian genocide of 1915?
Ronnie Dubs, St. Petersburg
In Florida, it's recession | Aug. 1, story
Just like before
"It was the state economy's worst performance since 1991." Let me think: Oh, yeah, that was the end of the other Bush's presidency.
Bill Dunlap, Tampa
Ledger lessons are lost | July 27, Perspective story
Let us learn something
We saw The Dark Knight the other day in the IMAX format. As with many others who have seen this movie, we were unable to tear our eyes away from Heath Ledger whenever he was on the screen. One of the reasons for this was his untimely death. He was a fine actor with a tremendous future ahead of him and a dearth of experience behind him.
How many people are taking the same type of medications that Ledger was taking and, because these medications are prescribed by a doctor, think that danger will not befall them? How many people die of the same thing every day but we don't hear about it because they are not famous, as Ledger was?
There are tremendous, lifelong lessons to be learned from his death. I support Chris Tisch in his wish that Ledger should wins an Oscar and that the person who accepts that award on his behalf should seize the opportunity to address the cause of his untimely death and the caution that needs to be taken when taking any medications. I hope this person is given however long he wants to make his speech.
Rest in peace, Heath Ledger. I hope the legacy you left doesn't just center on your fine film achievements, but educates others about the dangers of prescription medications.
Barbara Hamilton, St. Petersburg
Blast with a twist | July 31, story
Let's be honest: As much as I think Criss Angel seems like a pretty nice guy, and I have enjoyed his magic, the only implosion on Wednesday wasn't the building. Magic standards imploded, along with concern for people who were trusting enough to go out of their way to see a professional work.
His production was completely unprofessional. There is a certain level of expertise necessary for any worldwide illusion. We know the girl isn't floating above the stage, but you admire how she can hold her body straight and graceful and you can't see any wires. You can't just want to do an effect. You have to do it convincingly and in a way that respects your audience's intelligence.
Getting out of an imploding building is a good concept for an illusion. Maybe the next magician to do it (and I hope they are considering it) will perform the trick for the first time.
David Paul, Indian Rocks Beach