Who is Obama? Not who they say and No more science, please | March 15
Wrestling wisely with complexity
Thanks for running the David Brooks' column, which gave an evenhanded appraisal of President Barack Obama's efforts to apply the science of complexity to making federal policy, and Daniel Sarewitz's article on using science in politics. They dovetail beautifully!
Politicians are salesmen, selling the fictional certainty that our minds and emotions want to hear. Scientists are offering rational evidence of the uncertainty and probability that come with using the entwining of complexity.
Like most people, I hate it that life in a world with more than 6 billion people isn't simple. I have to try to understand why a bunch of different people in different lands aren't motivated positively by the "truths we hold to be self-evident." I am infuriated by having to try to learn all the new things that are created by our use of the complexity of technology. I'm turned off by all the linear slogans and misrepresentations of politicians and the corruption that is now so rife in all political transactions.
I just turned 85 and yearn for those grand old days when I could adapt better to simpler credos and ways of life. However, that was then and this is now!
We are creatures of energy who have no choice but to try to use complexity in order to survive by evolving. Rational science says that Obama's approach, as outlined by Brooks, has the highest probability of being effective. Emotional decisions dictate "full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes." Unfortunately, that's a recipe for destruction of the human race when dealing with complexity.
Fred Whitehouse, Land O'Lakes
"Deem and pass" and what it really means March 19, PolitiFact
What about Constitution?
The Democrats (including Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa) are going to use the questionable tactic of "deem and pass" to get their health care bill into law. This avoids their having to go on record as voting for a bill that cuts $525 billion from Medicare.
As your article points out: "This is the first time Congress has ever written a reconciliation bill to amend a law that does not exist."
Well, so much for the U.S. Constitution and the concept of democracy.
David Brown, Sun City Center
Health care vote
A GOP fear?
As the Republicans dig in their heels trying to block a goal line push by the Democrats for health care reform, one thing perplexes me. We have heard countless times how the Democrats will be punished at the polls in November for voting for this bill. If that's the case, why not let them vote it through, score political points in November and then vote to kill the legislation with their newfound majority?
Somehow the idea that they are opposing this "for the American people" in this take-no-prisoners atmosphere in Washington rings hollow. Is it just possible that they instead fear that if health care reform is passed, the American people might just happen to like it?
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
I have wondered for a long time if any of our elected officials in Tallahassee ever take the time to read the opinion page in any of our newspapers.
Over the years I have only had the St. Petersburg Times for news purposes, and it always fascinates me how many different opinions there are out here in the real world, written by citizens about everyday concerns for living from day to day
Opinion pages in our local papers should be mandatory reading for these politicians who are supposed to represent the people who elected them, but seldom do. They seem to live in another world, cut off from the reality of everyday striving to meet the ordinary needs of food and housing, honest labor for a living wage etc.
By the people and for the people needs to be foremost in the minds of our legislators.
D.G. Murray, New Port Richey
Obama's NASA plan agitates Florida March 15, story
Work for good of all
Hooray, for President Barack Obama. He proposes scrapping NASA's plan to return to the moon while increasing emphasis on research and design. His plan would still increase NASA funding $6 billion. Although reducing NASA's workforce would mean some unemployment, the increase of research and design engineers would help make up that deficit.
Our national pride should not be based only on competition in the space program, but on returning our country to respect by other nations. This only can happen when honest and honorable politicians consider legislation for the good of all the people.
Renee G. Salzer, Seminole
Obama's NASA plan agitates Florida March 15, story
A lesson in listening
In the news article concerning President Barack Obama's reorganization of the NASA program to include dropping return flights to moon, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is quoted as saying, "They would not listen," in his attempt to get the White House's attention.
Now maybe Sen. Nelson knows how so many of his constituents feel as he and others in Washington continue to push for the current health insurance legislation. Our Medicare and Social Security programs are in financial trouble and we have an awful tax system that needs to be totally repealed and rewritten! Listen, Sen. Nelson!
Roger Wilson, Seminole
Inappropriate description | March 13, letter
Face the disruption
Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner's letter regarded School Board chairwoman Janet Clark's characterization of the "disruptive" students at John Hopkins Middle School as "hoodlums." Lerner said this was an "inappropriate" description.
I suggest Lerner spend six weeks, on her own, teaching a class with some of these "disruptive" students at John Hopkins Middle School. I wonder what Lerner's feelings would be then, regarding Clark's characterization of these "disruptive" students as "hoodlums"?
I am a retired Pinellas County high school teacher
Helen Wilcox, Largo