'Django' and America | Jan. 13, Bill Maxwell column
We can all learn from the past
While I haven't seen the film Django Unchained, Bill Maxwell's column has motivated me to see it soon.
The subject of race in America and elsewhere is a complicated one. As with other subjects, I find clarity in science; the color of one's skin and the texture of one's hair depends on how close to or far away from the equator (the sun) these humans evolved. Scientifically, we are all members of the human race. Our physical differences evolved through thousands of years of natural selection.
Unfortunately and tragically, some humans used these differences to develop an economic and social construct of advantage to rationalize their exploitation and enslavement of others for financial gain.
While we can't change the past, we can learn from it and do all we can to change the present and the future while we're alive on this earth.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
I was wounded; my honor was not Jan. 13 column
Lessons from a survivor
Sohaila Abdulali's column is a "must read" for women, men and adolescents. What courage and insight she displays with her well-written story. It's amazing to see such in one so young. I can remember when the word "rape" wasn't even printed in newspapers. Was it because no honest discourse was welcome? Perhaps. However, this young woman explains and delineates her feelings after a horrendous experience and the course she uses to handle her life. There is nothing maudlin here, only concise help for others who have had none in a like situation and a reminder to us all. We owe these people succor and compassion, and most of all to listen to them always.
Liliyan Dayton, New Port Richey
Social Security tax
Who really benefited
As workers have started receiving 2 percent less in their paychecks, the real beneficiaries of the recent fiscal cliff deal have become apparent. Individuals with incomes above $400,000 suffered a stiff income tax increase. Those who earn less avoided the income tax increase but got hit with a substantial hike in their Social Security tax. Individuals earning between $110,000 and $400,000 made out best on the deal because they avoided the income tax increase and their wages above $110,000 are excluded from all Social Security tax.
I fully understand the need to end the Social Security tax holiday in order to avoid further damage to the financial stability of the system, but I am disturbed that our politicians didn't bite the bullet while they were sticking it to everybody else and eliminate the cap on earnings subject to Social Security. Such a move would have let this prosperous group share more equitably with other Americans in the increased tax burden, and it would have permanently eliminated any future Social Security funding problem.
Jerry Stephens, Riverview
Raising the national debt limit
A crisis in the making
It took the GOP more than 30 years to recover from the perception that Herbert Hoover was the principal cause of the Great Depression. Congressional failure to raise the ceiling on the national debt limit will probably trigger a deep (worldwide) recession, maybe even another Great Depression, forever sinking the prospects of the Republican Party being a meaningful voice in American government and allowing unrestrained restrictions on citizens' privacy rights and civil liberties.
Thomas Murphy, Clearwater
Urgent text in middle of the night | Jan. 15
What kind of silly program is this? Yes, my Verizon phone went off at 1:40 a.m. with the vague message about an Amber Alert and I should check with my local media for details. Apparently Bob Hoever, director of special programs at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, never stays up to see that at 1:30 in the morning there are only reruns, infomercials or the Weather Channel. Come on now, if it was important enough to send out the message and wake me up, then it was important enough to include some kind of detail. His comment "We need to keep it short" was an understatement, since it included nothing of value.
George Cooper, Weeki Wachee
A liar and a criminal
Lance Armstrong does not deserve redemption. A child makes a mistake, a teenager makes a bad choice, a husband/wife chooses to make an indiscretion in the marriage for which they are forgiven.
But Lance Armstrong is a liar, cheat and criminal and deserves no mercy just because he apologizes for his actions over the past 15 years. He is an adult who knew full well what he was doing and defrauded the U.S. Postal Service as well as the millions of people around the world who believed in him and held him in high esteem as a true sportsman. He lived with that belief and had no guilt about it and kept up the facade all these years. He should be punished to the fullest extent of the law and made to pay back the money he has bilked from unsuspecting souls and banished from cycling.
Connie Kennett, Tarpon Springs
Why has cycling been singled out in the war on doping? Regulators and the press attack a cyclist because it is easier to attack individuals than corporations. Who believes there is no doping in professional football?
Lance Armstrong won on a level playing field, where all competitors were using performance- enhancing substances. If you are serious about fighting doping, vacate a couple of Super Bowl titles and take top players out of the sport of football for life. Then I will believe you.
Michael Jordon, Palm Harbor
No common foreclosure for Kelleys | Jan. 16
Leave Petraeus out of it
I don't know why the Tampa Bay Times feels that it is necessary to keep dragging Gen. David Petraeus through the mud every time there is an article about Jill Kelly. Please elucidate what the article regarding the mortgage problems of the Kelleys has to do with the general. If it is to remind your readers who Jill Kelley is and her stake to fame, then she is not newsworthy. Many people are facing the same problem, and they are not considered newsworthy.
Petraeus served over 37 years protecting our country. Do you really need to keep up the muckraking of this fine man?
Holly Haley, New Port Richey