A dangerous mind-set for America
The war on terrorism is very crucial to the well being of America and the world, but the terrorists do not threaten our freedoms. There is also the broader Middle Eastern quagmire. All of those problems must be dealt with to insure a safer world. Though they are grave problems and hold much danger, none qualify as the most dangerous to American freedoms or governmental system.
Only if the threat of those world problems is used as leverage to weaken our Constitution and Bill of Rights, whether knowingly or as the consequence of poorly conceived strategy to deal with terrorism, can it threaten our freedom or government system.
The "us and them mind-set" is the most dangerous threat to America's freedoms and government system. It is involved in and undermines the political process, industry, race relations, and media-government relations. It engenders disrespect and dampens empathy.
It has become active and has defeated inhibition of aggressive thoughts and actions aimed at others who disagree with or hold different opinions. That is our worst and most insidious enemy.
David H. Marshall, Odessa
Guantanamo, poetry of pain and Closing Gitmo ends a deal with the devil | Feb. 1, Perspective stories
Terrorists do not deserve our sympathy
What great comfort these and similar articles must give to Islamo-terrorists who play off the misplaced sentiments of fair play, individual rights and due process. Of course, in the case of Robyn Blumner, it's simply a continuation of her obsessive and irrational hatred for anything spawned by the former Bush administration, and the man himself.
As long as the Times is promulgating the humanization of terrorists, might I suggest some future topics? How about: "Love Sonnets of the Gestapo" or maybe "Haiku of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge," perhaps "Ode to Misogyny, A Janjaweed Muses." Would these make good reading?
I can't help but wonder, what were the final thoughts of murdered Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl before he was beheaded while being filmed. Pearl's crime was Judaism. What was on the minds of countless other victims of Muslim extremism as they were torn apart by the bombs of "martyrs." Not much due process there it would seem.
Thomas E. Abba, Largo
Cheney's scare stories
On Tuesday Dick Cheney favored us with his predictions of a coming terrorist attack. This is nothing new from Dick, of course. New is the prediction that if it comes, it will be the fault of the Obama administration, 15 days in office.
Cheney risks little with this prediction. If — as always — he is wrong, it will be forgotten with all his previous predictions of doom. If an attack comes, he gets to say, "I told you so."
Cheney, his almost boss, and the rest of the neocon cabal bear all of the responsibility for the hatred toward the United States in the past eight years. But Cheney — who never spent a minute on watch, or even in uniform — still sees terrorists under his wheelchair.
He forgets that when the Cheney/Bush team was actually on watch, they ignored all the intelligence and were asleep at the switch when the planes were flying into the World Trade Center.
And he hopes we will forget, too. That's always been his plan. Hope we forget his constellation of error, and hope we remember if he ever turns out to be right.
Arlene Zimney, Tampa
Limit their terms
Now more than ever we need a return to the concept of the citizen statesman: a person who left their farm or their job for a brief tour of service, not a career, in Washington.
The stench of entitlement and corruption by both parties is overpowering. In recent weeks the president barely kept his Treasury nominee, has had to grant several exemptions to his "no lobbyists" rule, and has lost longtime Washington insiders Bill Richardson and Tom Daschle to a bribery investigation and tax improprieties. Daschle "earned" $5 million in the past two years working for a billionaire friend, but couldn't afford a tax accountant?
The arrogance of these people, especially those like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, who created a lot of the current problems, is breathtaking. If now isn't the time for term limits, when is?
Peter Ford, Tierra Verde
Boredom blamed for arson | Feb. 3, story
No reason for pity
What kind a sob story is this? Let's ask the victims of their crimes if they feel sorry for these "juvenile delinquents." I doubt that will happen.
These teens need to learn a new phrase: "You are responsible for your actions." They do not deserve, nor will they receive, pity from me.
Also, are their parents prepared to pay for their actions? Shame on all of them, parents included. This crime wave started around 4 a.m. Why weren't the parents concerned as to what their kids were doing at that time?
Another new word: restitution. The victims need restitution directed by the court.
Gail Randle, Clearwater
Boredom blamed for arson | Feb. 3, story
It wasn't boredom
Regarding the five teens arrested for a string of arsons last Sunday: Make no mistake about them. Good grades may mean they are good students but their actions say they are bad people. The wanton destruction of personal property is horrendous, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, including federal firebombing laws.
Just imagine if someone had realized he drank too much and pulled over to nap when the criminals came by. They could have had murder on their hands.
Boredom is not the reason this happened. Don't whitewash destructive behavior with the word "boredom."
Tim Robinson, St. Petersburg
Charles and his click clique | Feb. 1, story
The dumbing down of America is in full swing. A guy opens his mouth on YouTube and 809,972 people find that interesting enough to watch. Or he yawns and 478,021 people view it. And he considers those people his friends? That online magazine title, Gawker, is a better description for the viewers.
Is this how people now occupy their time? Surely the St. Petersburg Times could write about young people with talent who put that talent to good use instead of this idiotic nonsense. That article was depressing.
Barbara Cabrera, Beverly Hills