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Obama dodges the question

Sen. McCain, the zygote and the vote | Aug. 24, Robyn E. Blumner column

Obama dodges the question

In Robyn Blumner's rant against McCain and his prolife stance, she conveniently ignores Obama's pathetic response to Rick Warren's question. For those who missed it, Obama said, "Answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade." When, exactly, will an opinion on a matter of life be within his pay grade?

This was a perfect opportunity to show his allegiance to NARAL and his devotion to Planned Parenthood. Instead, he passed the buck, afraid to show his radical views. Should Obama become president, will he pass other difficult questions off on others? Dodge questions because they don't fall within his "pay grade"? What about foreign affairs? The Middle East? Big Oil? Are answering questions about those topics within his pay grade?

Count me as an extremist: I believe life begins at the moment of conception. I also have the guts to stand up and say it. If Obama really isn't strong enough, smart enough, or brave enough to voice his true thoughts, do we want him leading this country?

Leah Halisky, Clearwater

Sen. McCain, the zygote and the vote | Aug. 24, Robyn E. Blumner column

Beyond biology

Robyn Blumner expressed concern about what will happen with the constitutional decision to keep abortion legal if another conservative president makes the Supreme Court more conservative than it is today. This is a reasonable concern from someone who may disagree in the role of government in penalizing a woman who decides to have an abortion.

I do take issue, however, in her approach of trivializing a five-day-old embryo of "about 150 cells, smaller that a grain of salt," and implying its inferiority over the brain of a fruit fly that "has 250,000 cells."

But the importance of the zygote, embryo, fetus newborn, and so on is not the specific biology implied on those cells at that given time, but the potential inherent in its existence. At what point are we human? At the time that we are born? When we are still in the womb but viable? The day before that? What gives us the wisdom to draw the line between being a bunch of cells and being human?

Since at the moment of conception, when a specific genetic combination is achieved in a given time and space, the start of an individual can be defined, it would be very risky for us to decide when it is that this biologically individual entity earns the right to be called human.

Jesus L. Penabad, Tarpon Springs

Anchors aweigh with opinions | Aug. 24, Perspective

Beware of popularity

The presidential campaign must, of necessity, be somewhat flamboyant occasionally, dealing, regrettably, in flaming hyperbole. At times, important issues may be lost in the almost frantic selling of personalities.

Which candidate has the larger income? Which candidate has overcome the most formidable obstacles in life to reach this point? Which candidate speaks more smoothly, gives more pleasure by his platform presence? In short, which candidate do we, in our heart of hearts, like the better?

In 1800, Germaine de Stael, the well-known French writer, observed shrewdly, "In a democratic state, one must be continually on guard against the desire for popularity. It leads to aping the behavior of the worst. And soon people come to think that it is of no use — indeed it is dangerous — to show too plain a superiority over the multitude which one wants to win over."

Perhaps these are words to remember in the heady days to come.

Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon

A dream night | Aug. 29

King's dream fulfilled

Amazingly, it happened. It was a long time in coming, but 45 years to the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, history was made as Sen. Barack Obama accepted the nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate.

As Dr. King persevered with freedom marches and speeches, he well knew that he could die for the cause of racial equality. Over these last few days, I have found myself thinking that Dr. King didn't die in vain. My belief is that, if it were not for King as well as his followers and others like him fighting for the cause, Barack Obama would never have had the opportunity to deliver an acceptance speech.

What pleases me most is that the people of our great nation are finally able to overlook the color of one's skin and instead look at the individual's character and capabilities in determining whether leadership qualities exist. My hope is that this is only be the beginning of our national progress. My only regret is that Dr. King wasn't able to see his dream realized.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

My ride on magic carpet comes to end | Aug. 24, Philip Gailey column

Thanks for the memories

Philip Gailey's "magic carpet" ride may have been his best rendition. One could almost feel the wind flying by. What a career! And what a trove of memories.

Though I've disagreed with him many times, he is a terrific storyteller, and this column read like a thrill ride, better than any at Busch Gardens. (Do I see a book coming on?)

Lilyan V. Dayton, New Port Richey

A beacon of hope

Thanks to Mr. Gailey for a well-run St. Petersburg Times editorial board and column. It is certainly sad for me to see him leaving/retiring from what has long been a beacon of hope here in our great community.

The paper and the people of this area have had the good fortune of his knowledge and guidance for 17 years, during which it has slowly emerged as the more socially aware city that I am proud to call home.

Best wishes!

Rob Pressrich, St. Petersburg

Balanced views

Philip Gailey will be missed. He has been a moderate, rational voice at the St. Petersburg Times for as long as I've been here. He has been neither too liberal nor too conservative most of the time, which is saying a lot in these days of partisan politics. Hopefully, he will continue to contribute from time to time.

W.H. Riddell, Tampa

Obama dodges the question 08/30/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 31, 2008 6:06pm]
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