Obama open to drilling | Aug. 2, story
Don't open door to this dangerous notion
I am angry and frustrated that Barack Obama would possibly give in to pressure to allow oil drilling 50 miles from our coast.
We certainly need new energy ideas, but to drill so close to our pristine shores would be shortsighted and dangerous.
I have previously lived in Texas and can tell you that because of offshore drilling many of the beaches there are foul-smelling, polluted and not a draw for tourism.
We all know that it will just be a matter of time before some drilling mishap off our coast devastates our beaches, tourism and fishing industries and wildlife.
It should be a requirement that before any senators or representatives vote on this subject they personally visit Clearwater Beach and Galveston, Texas. The differences would be eye-opening.
Peter C. Smith, Dunedin
Our beaches deserve better
We are advised that Sen. Barack Obama is now willing to sell our Gulf Coast beaches for 30 pieces of silver (votes?).
Our beautiful state is in recession. Our governor is off campaigning for the darling of the oil interests.
We watch in dismay as our savings and home equity flow steadily down the drain, but we can't join the crowds leaving our expensive, high-tax state because we can't sell our house.
We hope tourists and retirees will continue to come and enjoy the beauty of our beaches, provide jobs and build up our tax base.
I have walked the beaches of Dauphin Island, Ala., avoiding the thick black tarry goo that washes up from the oil rigs in the distance. This is not from tanker spills; it just washes up.
Is this our legacy for our children here, and how will our chamber of commerce whitewash a no-longer white sand beach thick with oily goo and broken promises?
Elizabeth Gerhardt, Spring Hill
Obama defends oil stance | Aug. 3, story
I was a little amused by the Times article discussing various reactions to Obama changing his position on offshore drilling. His critics are having a hard time defining him and coming up with labels that will stick. When he began his candidacy, he was being labeled as inexperienced and naive. Now, he is being defined as a flip-flopper who is both shrewd and opportunistic. I'm not sure which of these definitions would really fit Obama. But if I take his critics at face value, then I have to assume that, at the least, he is a fast learner.
I was struck by one of John McCain's spokespeople saying, "He'll probably try to refine his stands a few more times before November, if it is in his political interest." I'd genuinely hope that Obama will continue to refine his stands as time goes on.
I can't speak for the rest of America, but personally, I've had enough of a leader who is fixed, stubborn and staying the course. And as for this spokesman implying that Obama has some sort of character flaw by saying that he will act "in his political interest," that's just silly. Of course he will.
I'm not sure who Obama will turn out to be, but it may just be that he can be the best of both worlds, an opportunist who is also an idealist.
Alan Reeder Camponi, St. Petersburg
Forget the hecklers
Shame on you, St. Petersburg Times, for your slanted coverage of Sen. Barack Obama's speech at Gibbs High School on Friday. The opening of Saturday's article in the Tampa Bay section puts the focus on heckling by the Uhuru group. Actually, the group disrupted less than 15 minutes of more than an hourlong event. Your imbalanced article plus an unnecessary photo of an Uhuru leader gave the group the success it could not achieve by itself: promoting itself as an important leader for the African-American community in St. Petersburg.
The overwhelming and consistent booing by the largely black audience demonstrated they were present to support Obama, not the Uhurus.
Do you always give equal time to hecklers at major speeches?
Barbara McCall, St. Petersburg
What planet is Pelosi on? | Aug. 2, Charles Krauthammer column
Speaker looks to the future
In the year 2018, when the first of this "offshore oil" might finally begin to trickle into gas tanks, I'm hoping my planet is populated with people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who can inspire and lead us to safer, renewable energy sources, and the neocons like Charles Krauthammer have gas-guzzled themselves giddy from the polluted air and water.
This hopefully will be the last gasp of lies from the Bush administration, always a friend of Big Oil, which has spent the last eight years dismantling environmental protections and enriching the Republican K Street lobbyists' client base, adding billions more profits to Big Oil.
James Buckley, Ocala
From her lofty position as one of the Beltway's most powerful mandarins, $4-a-gallon gas is a mere abstraction for millionaire Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But for those of us out here in fly-over land with less than a six-figure family income, the pain is real.
While she and her self-serving colleagues mouth fallacious antidrilling talking points, the dirty little secret is that the Democrat majority leadership in Congress will do nothing to provide relief to the American people while George Bush occupies the White House. This is because Pelosi knows that many congressional Democrats will honor their constituents' wishes and not vote against drilling. She can't allow that to happen.
The Constitution has but one flaw and that is that it gives Congress the authority to make their own rules of procedure. This creates an insane situation in a representative republic that allows a petty dictator like Pelosi to overrule the will of more than 70 percent of the American people. Because of her partisan irresponsibility, Congress has recessed without taking any action. She should be ashamed.
T.S. "Mac" McDonnell, St. Petersburg