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Sunday letters: Obama needs to step up and take the lead in gulf oil spill

Promises are only a start | June 16, editorial

Obama needs to step up and lead

Finally! In the 15 years I have lived here and been a subscriber to the St. Petersburg Times, I have disagreed with the tone and bias in your editorials about 99.9 percent of the time.

I was amazed to find myself in total agreement with your editorial and critique of President Barack Obama's address from the Oval Office concerning the BP oil disaster, and your assessment of his leadership so far with the spill. The editorial cartoon by Andy Marlette also provided a perfect synopsis of his lack of leadership with this crisis.

I agree with you that in nearly every respect, he has, as you put it, "fallen disappointingly short." I also agree with you that his promises, "have to be followed soon by better results."

Obama was elected to lead our great country, and it is time for him to do so. Leadership was once defined as the "process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task." As president, he is the one person who must lead this effort.

Using this definition, he does not earn a passing mark. So far. History will record whether he does lead us out of this crisis, or not.

For all of our sakes, I hope that he can and will lead us and accomplish what needs to be done to rectify this disaster: coordinate an effort to clean up and then prevent this from happening again.

Mark Mandula, St. Petersburg

Will the oil spill be Obama's Katrina? June 17, story

A ridiculous comparison

Many of us see the comparison "Obama's Katrina" not as "too early to tell." We see the comparison as "ridiculous." George W. Bush's Katrina resulted in the deaths of more than 1,800 Americans. In retrospect the federal government could have saved many of the ones who died stranded in New Orleans in floodwaters, but all levels of government failed miserably. On top of this, Bush congratulated "Brownie" for a job well done even though he epically failed. ran the headline on May 1, 10 days after the rig fire began: "White House Fends Off Specter of Katrina in Federal Response to Oil Spill." At that time, there was no indication in reporting that the federal response was inadequate, and that is based on my careful review.

"Obama's Katrina" became a Fox News slogan out of right field. I cannot believe the St. Petersburg Times swallowed hook, line and sinker the Karl Rovian hogwash and Fox News creation.

Please borrow a radical story from Greenpeace next time, perhaps one that points to Dick Cheney's hand in creating this oil disaster ("Is this Cheney's Katrina?"). Cheney's back-room pandering to Big Oil is well known and the safety device involved in this spill was deregulated by him in 2000-2001. The evidence actually exists for that story and is factual, not opinion. Please try to be more fair and balanced.

L. Joe Davis, Jr., St. Petersburg

A loss of faith | June 13, Perspective story

A fickle public

This article confirmed for me how fickle Americans can be. The article states, "One of the least trusted institutions is big business … " The next paragraph states that one of the only institutions that Americans trust is the military.

If there is one thing American history teaches us, it is big business and the military are synonymous. More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of the military-industrial complex.

If anyone wants to see how corrupt the Army can be, they should read Jon Krakauer's book Where Men Win Glory, concerning the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman. Another example of the incompetence of the Army was the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain safe, reliable dikes around New Orleans. Which raises the issue: Will any of our current leaders (political, academic, business, spiritual) talk to us about the worst-case scenario concerning the oil spill? For instance, can New Orleans survive a major hurricane this season, or will it become a toxic dump?

John Burrell, Tampa

Only one African-American in Pinellas elite June 13, Bill Maxwell column

A task for Obama

Educational achievement has been declining for years, and won't turn around quickly. As Bill Maxwell points out, the remedy is no secret, and begins with a return to traditional ideas of family, hard work and discipline. The challenge to the black community is no different, but does seem insurmountable.

What's the difference between local athletic excellence and scholarship? Nothing but expectations, really. Right now the academic expectation for black students is just too low.

But wait a minute! Look at the president of the United States. Look at his wife and family. Can you imagine a more powerful example of black achievement and success? Where is the effort to capitalize on this extraordinary situation? Did I miss it? What would it take for him to make a few targeted public service announcements, maybe a speech or two extolling the benefits of the family, hard work and discipline?

This president cannot be "postracial" or anything other than what he is. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech was inspiring, but we live in the real world. What's required now is action by people of all political stripes, including those black citizens who supported him with their votes. Where is the pressure on Obama to use his talents in this effort? He should be the cheerleader for excellence at all levels for everyone, but especially for those who are chronically discouraged and alienated. Obama can do this. He can help change the culture. If not now, when?

Tom Kelsey, Safety Harbor

Checkpoint to stop drunken drivers June 18

Unwise warning

I do not understand the reason for the Times to publish in advance the date, time, location and direction of travel regarding DUI checkpoints.

Why publish this information at all? Do the police want to actually catch drunken drivers? Then don't publish this information! Perhaps they just want to make their job easier by allowing people who plan to drink and drive at that time to find another route.

Tim Robinson, St. Petersburg

Sunday letters: Obama needs to step up and take the lead in gulf oil spill

06/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 18, 2010 5:26pm]
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