A life beyond reason | Nov. 28
A person just like the rest of us
This article made me realize how often we simply don't understand things. I am a normal, healthy teen. Honestly, seeing children or adults with disabilities has always bothered me. I automatically feel bad for them, without knowing anything about them. To see this article and realize whoever I am feeling sorry for is probably taken better care of than I am is something amazing.
Those who are different don't need us feeling sorry for them or looking at them as anything less than human. They're human just like the rest of us. All they need is for us to understand and accept them as they are.
This was much more than just an article in the paper. It was the story of a child just like any other, with a loving mother, father and sister who see him as just another person in their family — a person like us all, who needs love. I hope that I'm not the only one who sees this story as being so important.
Clarissa Brodfield, St. Petersburg
I was moved and tearful while reading Chris Gabbard's account of his intellectual, emotional and spiritual journey with his son, August. As the father of a son born with what was diagnosed as autism, I can identify with his pain and desire to cherish and protect his son.
He is a courageous man who has come to accept the gift that is his son.
Kevin O'Brien, Dade City
This film will educate and infuriate you Nov. 28, Blumner column
Missing the mark
Robyn Blumner's opinion of the documentary Inside Job was off the mark. She put the blame on Wall Street bankers that "lorded over vast financial frauds" with just a mention of "government regulators at the behest of Wall Street."
She said this film "connects the dots" but neglected to mention the biggest dot of all — the Democratic Congress that passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to "meet the credit needs" of low-income, minority and distressed neighborhoods.
Lenders responded by loosening their underwriting standards and making increasingly shoddy loans. The two government-chartered mortgage finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged this subprime lending by authorizing ever more flexible criteria by which high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans, and then buying up the questionable mortgages that ensued.
Elizabeth B. Churchwell, Dade City
Free for now | Nov. 28
Basic human right
This article points out how Afghan women and girls hunger for education and interaction with the world. Education is a basic human right, something we value so much in America that we've made it free and compulsory.
When a woman is educated, her entire family benefits: They are healthier, more prosperous and less likely to engage in terrorism. Right now, 72 million children around the world do not have access to a primary education, and at the rate we're going, most of them will still be out of school by 2015, the target year for achieving universal primary education.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has introduced the Education for All Act, saying, "When countries stricken with poverty have no resources to educate their children, we all pay the price with a weakened global economy and increased violence in areas around the world. As we work to rebuild our economy here at home and ensure our national security, we must also put the right policies in place to improve global productivity and economic opportunity abroad."
I call on our senators and representatives to support this legislation, which will put the United States in a leadership role so all children can get a basic education.
Linda Schatz, Tampa
Too many pricey rides
What nerve your auto reviewers have evaluating cars that cost $70,000 or more. I'm coaxing a car along with 160,000 miles, and when I buy a new one, it'll be a midpriced auto. Don't they know there is high unemployment and a bad economy that makes it tough for everyone?
I know they sometimes do review affordable cars, but the number of high-priced luxury cars they review is obscene.
Lonnie Herman, Tampa
Don't ask, don't tell
Repeal bigoted policy
As one of the only superpowers that does not allow gay men and women to openly serve their country, it is time we send this biased, discriminatory law to the shredder where it belongs.
The studies are in, the majority of the military agrees: The time is now. For those in the military who believe they would have a problem serving with a gay soldier, the service might be better off without you.
As a former veteran of both the Army and Navy, with tours in Vietnam, I would never question the gender or orientation of the soldier who had my back. The only legitimate question should be his or her competence. Gays have always served and always will. It's time they were recognized and treated as the patriots they are.
Ray Day, Spring Hill
Restoring fairness to the death penalty Nov. 30, Daniel Ruth column
End it, don't mend it
Daniel Ruth agreed with retired Justice John Paul Stevens' concern about fairness in the application of the death penalty. Would they be content if the ratio of black to white executions was more in proportion to race populations? And how would we do that?
In any case, what is the purpose of executing people, guilty or not? It is not a deterrent. People who kill seldom consider the risks of which penalty might apply. Most civilized countries have long since eliminated this Dark Ages practice.
How about life in prison with no parole. It would be cheaper, easier to convict guilty people, and allow for eventual evidence to emerge to change the judgment.
Henry Holt, Treasure Island
Charity and the superwealthy | Nov. 28
Not true giving
True giving is giving a gift and releasing it, with no expectations on the outcome. When I give a gift to a friend or relative, I do not tell her what to buy with it. My gifts to charity aren't attached to a political agenda.
What these superwealthy people like the Kochs are doing isn't true giving. They are putting their money where it will help their political agenda. Until wealthy philanthropists can give in an unattached manner, there are merely buying what they want. Maybe we should stop calling it giving.
Nickie McNichols, Pinellas Park