How Obama can reach out to GOP | Jan. 9
Reaching out is a two-way street
Here is a better theme: How the GOP can reach out to President Barack Obama.
Stop shouting lies about his birthplace and trying to convince the American people that he was born in Kenya and is a Muslim (not that there is anything wrong with being a Muslim).
Admit the truth that the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress was responsible for the breakdown of the financial markets that caused this economic downturn.
Stop spreading falsehoods about the reforms to health care. It is not a government takeover, it is not a job killer, it is not a budget breaker, it does not contain "death panels," it does not restrict senior citizens' access to health care.
Stop trying to tie in knots everything the president is attempting to do to improve life for everyday Americans.
Stop using arcane rules to refuse to vote on the president's appointments.
Distance yourselves from the bigoted hatemongers.
This is just a start, but do this and I am confident you will find a very receptive President Obama.
Jay D. Jennings, Brooksville
How Obama can reach out to GOP | Jan. 9
Tax system is unfair
N. Gregory Mankiw, another elite representative of the GOP, told President Barack Obama in Sunday's paper that the way to get along with the GOP is for him to cave in on all its economic demands, including letting the rich keep the extra-large share of the income they now amass.
He argues that the reason the rich have so much more money than the rest of us is that we are not doing a good job educating the masses. I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that the rich now pay a lot less in taxes than they used to. On dividends and capital gains, the wealthy pay only 15 percent, while the average worker pays over 20 percent when you include FICA. Why does a person who sits on his money pay less tax then the poor slob who is out there every day breaking his back?
Roger W. Gambert, Palm Harbor
The GOP's telltale heart | Jan. 9, Robyn Blumner column
The problem encountered by columnists who repeat shibboleths without examining their validity is that they inevitably misapply their own well-worn cliches.
Accusing Reps. John Boehner and Darrell Issa of probusiness bias while we are being financially destroyed by an administration that was elected by, and is blindly loyal to, hedge fund money, private equity lucre and the so-called Masters of the Universe who brought us the Fannie and Freddie Follies is liberal blindness run amok.
While President Barack Obama and his cadres lob rhetorical grenades at politically unaffiliated business groups and at those that lean Republican, the partners at Goldman Sachs rest secure in the knowledge that at most the Obama administration will set up a Potemkin village-level "investigation" that is designed for middle class and media consumption while the financial engineers on Wall Street and in Greenwich, Conn., continue with their financial predations.
Jeffrey Meyer, Tampa
Gov. Rick Scott
Give governor a chance
The Times ought to be ashamed of its coverage of our newly elected governor, Rick Scott. The man has barely finished taking the oath of office and you are finding every possible opportunity to attack him.
Now it's his replacement of staff and department heads. You seem to be judging Scott on the performance of past governors, but just because they did things one way doesn't mean Scott will do the same. Give him a chance.
Also in your recent reporting you manage to bring up everything negative you can about his past over and over again. Let it go.
Scott has new ideas. Just because it isn't business as usual doesn't mean it's wrong.
John Cocca, Palm Harbor
Unlikely advocate | Jan. 9
More oversight needed
The number of people who have been exonerated after serving years in prison indicates that the judicial system must have more oversight to prevent people from being wrongly convicted.
In the Tommy Zeigler case, credible evidence surfaced years ago that leads me to believe there is more than reasonable doubt about his guilt. Yet the courts have refused to hear this evidence largely because all appeals must be heard in the same judicial circuit that convicted him originally.
It is said that we are a nation of laws, not men, but if we lose faith in our judicial system, we will become a nation of scofflaws. Let's hope that our new governor will take a look at cases like this and will "get to work" to eliminate judicial corruption.
Myrle Henry, Plant City
It's not the stadium | Jan. 10, commentary
We've got it good
Roy Peter Clark "went yard" with his assessment of attendance issues facing professional sports teams in Tampa Bay.
As a child in the '60s and '70s, I routinely traveled two hours with friends and family to attend Cincinnati Reds and Bengals games, and as a young adult, two hours (usually through snow and/or sleet) to attend the season-ending Browns-Steelers game. In all those years, I don't recall any of my companions whining about how far we had to drive or the condition of the venue.
Now, in my early 50s and a 12-year resident of Tampa Bay, I'm still not complaining. I live in Oldsmar, and I can be in my seat with a dog and a beer at Tropicana Field in about an hour. It's never taken me more than 15 or 20 minutes to be cruising north on I-275 after a Rays game. As for the venue, aside from the quirky "catwalk rules," what's not to like about watching big-league baseball in air-conditioned comfort?
Let's appreciate what we have: three exciting professional sports franchises competing in three better-than-average venues.
Tom Stauffer, Oldsmar
It's the demographics
Roy Peter Clark's opinion is right on. Attendance is a marketing challenge, not a facility or location problem. The Rays organization needs to better understand the demographics of its market area.
For example, there is a high population of retirees who grew up with baseball and would love to attend if the cost is reasonable. And few of us (retirees) want to sit out in the elements. Tropicana Field is portrayed as dull and old. I disagree. It is a fun place to enjoy a ball game.
A new stadium will neither change the demographics nor resolve the attendance issue.
Duane Fox, St. Petersburg