What we didn't overcome | Nov. 12, commentary
Racial vote cuts both ways
I find the article written by Timothy Noah to be extremely troubling. Most disturbing was his statement that "little coverage has bothered to note Obama's white vote deficit." The stats he presented noted that Barack Obama won "only 43 percent of the white electorate," 41 percent of white men and 46 percent of white women. Most notable of his stats? "(Obama) won 54 percent of all white voters age 18 to 29, to McCain's 44 percent." I feel Noah did a pretty good job right here covering this so-called deficit. Well done, Timothy.
He did miss one key stat, though: According to exit polls published in the St. Petersburg Times on Nov. 5, 96 percent of black people voted for Obama. Is it not at all troubling that there existed a "stubborn refusal" for blacks to vote for a white person in this past election?
There is a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in this article. It was Dr. King who said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." I can't agree with Dr. King more. Unfortunately, according to your exit polls, we are a long way from achieving this dream.
Steve Hallett, Tarpon Springs
Maybe it's paranoia
Somehow writer Timothy Noah sees a correlation between Barack Obama not winning a majority of the white vote and racism — perhaps not blatant, but racism nonetheless. Interestingly, neither he nor the media sees the inverse being racist: that candidate Obama won not just the majority of the black vote, but statistically all of the black vote.
But the real wrench in this argument comes in the graphic that was provided with the article. Didn't anyone notice that in the past 10 presidential races, only two candidates got more of the "whites voting Democratic" vote than Obama! In 1976, Jimmy Carter's percentage was 5 points higher, but the only other time, Bill Clinton's 1996 run, the difference was only 1 percentage point. Maybe it's not racism, it's paranoia.
Walter Staggs, St. Petersburg
Secret order let military strike in Syria and Pakistan | Nov. 10, story
President Bush has done a good job keeping us safe
I read the article on the secret directive to use our military Special Operations troops to strike at al-Qaida anywhere in the world, and I was kind of surprised that this type of information was coming out about the Bush administration already.
I thought it would be years before we heard about some of the stuff that Bush was doing to try to keep us safe. In the past I would have been upset at this type of leaked article, but in this case I think the amount of coverage on the Syrian raid made the point of secrecy pretty much moot.
I feel that Bush has done everything in his power to protect America and the lives of its citizens and I think eventually he will be recognized for this achievement.
This country will come together now, because conservatives won't have it any other way. I'm not saying we won't fight over such things as taxes and stem cell research, but you won't find opposition that undermines the authority and ability of our president to carry out his job as commander in chief. Obama was not my choice, but I pledge my support to him as president. I think he deserves that and our country demands that, at the very least until he proves otherwise.
James Leonard, Largo
Bush deserves better | Nov. 12, letter
Poorly prepared leader
The reader mentions George W. Bush's experience as Texas governor and professional sports owner as reasons for defending him.
If Bush were a Rhodes scholar, author and former general in the Army I would still give him very low marks.
He took us to war on a bogus claim. He listened to all of his nonmilitary neocons and invaded Iraq, instead of focusing on Afghanistan. He has created the largest deficit in our history, despite a surplus when he took office.
A president needs to be bright, flexible and certainly curious. He also should surround himself with bright people who give him like-minded and opposing views.
I firmly believe Bush is not a bad person. He was just acutely ill-prepared and underqualified to be president.
More than 4,000 soldiers have died in Iraq, with another 30,000 injured, not to mention the civilian losses. I blame both the Republicans and the Democrats for giving this president blanket authority for the war. If the reader thinks it is wimpy to intellectually and morally weigh the consequences of war, so be it.
John K. Orr, St. Petersburg
Russia warns against shield | Nov. 6, story
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he remains ready to work with the United States if it abandons its present plans to build a missile shield in Poland. Apparently this missile shield has been the Bush administration's plan from the beginning. There are two strong factors against such an undertaking — the cost and our image to the world that we are a war-driven society and will continue our "world democracy" to other countries whether they want it or not.
Isn't it time to use some common sense and stop this unnecessary cost and our attitude of meddling in other countries' affairs? A new administration and words of bipartisanship and change could help in this vital situation, put a stop to our excess military spending and reshape our damaged world image.
Donald W. Fridell, Ocala
A tipsheet for a new foreign policy | Nov. 9
Keep military power
In item No. 4, Fred Kaplan says we should "Cut and shift the military budget."
Is Kaplan a sick pup or what? If anything, the government needs to stop all this foreign aid and start taking care of our own country. On the top of the list should be increased military spending.
If we were ever to get attacked by the known and unknown, Kaplan and others who think like him would be screaming, "Where is our military strength?" He and others like him are an insult to the men and women of the military who protect us.
John Mattia, Clearwater
Thoughts were angry
As a McCain voter, I plan to support President-elect Barack Obama. Gail Collins' Nov. 7 column, Friendly thoughts for nearly everyone, was an angry column by a left-leaning writer with mean-spirited comments about President Bush, Sarah Palin, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Elizabeth Dole. That is not the way to heal the divisions in our nation.
Laurence Veras, Clearwater
If first week any sign, Obama will do fine Nov. 13, David Broder column
This is change?
The column by David Broder appears to be a report on Democratic hangovers from the old Clinton administration. Evidently, the old Clinton people are popping out of their eight-year-old hideouts and are now getting into the new administration. Is this the change that was pushed in the elections? To me, it looks like a change back about 12 years to the Clinton administration, "Yahoo!"
Also, Maureen Dowd's column on the same page (Boxers, briefs or silks?) appears to be like neighborhood gossip. I can hear that stuff just by going out and hearing what my friends are talking about. They usually finish their remarks with, "Don't tell anyone that I told you that." Just a touch of class and intellect would have gone a long way.
Charles E. Mac Neill, Crystal River
Bold ads tease: Who can I sue? | Nov. 10, story
The problem with Americans and their thinking can be summed up with the Tampa billboard, "Who Can I Sue?" Despite assertions to the contrary by its creator (and lawyer) Curtis Wolfe, this blanket statement is the epitome of the handout-enabling mentality that dogs our society and our economy.
Sometimes holding scalding hot coffee between your legs when you're driving, resulting in burns, is your fault. Sometimes getting less than stellar results on plastic surgery in your continuing quest for perfection is your fault. Sometimes investing in high-risk Ponzi schemes is your fault.
And for those cases that may be truly worthy of compensation, finding a lawyer from a bus bench sign or a billboard without doing your own diligent research will get you exactly what you paid for and justly deserve: nothing.
Lynn Cannella, Tampa