Democrats reeling as Bayh says no to term | Feb. 16, story
Filibuster is fouling the system
It is very disappointing and disheartening that Sen. Evan Bayh is not running for another term because Republican senators are creating paralysis of government through unprecedented use — or better stated, abuse — of the filibuster rule.
The Republican senators have opted for blind partisanship over patriotism by making government totally dysfunctional regardless of the damaging effects to American citizens and the world.
From health reform and global warming to creating jobs and regulating Wall Street, the Republican senators couldn't care less about solving these problems. All they want is to be back in power, and let the county they claim to care about be damned.
Unfortunately, the decisions by Sen. Bayh and Sen. Byron Dorgan not to run for re-election are only going to embolden the Republican senators' strategy of governmental paralysis.
All U.S. senators who love their country and want to solve the pressing problems we face should eliminate or amend the filibuster rule so the power-crazed partisans can no longer make government dysfunctional.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
Sink has cash, if not cachet | Feb. 14, story
Political coverage focuses too much on money
This type of report appears so frequently the reader thinks the amount of fundraising is more important than the candidate's platform — which may be true given the frequency with which elected officials breach or ignore campaign promises. Thus the existence of PolitiFact to check political promises.
But the point is Times stories emphasize who has how much money (Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio) in a money-oriented society, and voters may forget the issues and rightly become cynical about the value of their vote and whether democracy has meaning only if measured in dollars.
Well before the U.S. Supreme Court decision opened business and union coffers to greater campaign giving, plenty of dollars sloshed around to gain "access," which really is a modest method of corruption. Dollars now often spell election. Becoming an independent voter is no protection unless it reduces mail solicitation for politicians. It is in fact quite ugly and depressing when you see the role money plays in our democracy and the false appearances candidates and public officials adopt to justify its uses.
I challenge the Times to run stories on officials at any level of government least influenced by campaign funding.
James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg
Letters on Sarah Palin | Feb. 15
Three letter writers on Monday let people know how they feel about Sarah Palin. One said, "She had an opportunity to remain as governor of Alaska and learn about government" and "she represents the far right wing of the Republican Party." He added, "We cannot let the extreme right take over our country." Another believes that since we were "silly enough to elect George W. Bush" why not Sarah Palin. And the third believes that "she has done nothing but prove how simple she really is."
None of them gave me anything to chew on. None of them gave me any food for thought. They simply repeated the Democratic talking points. They were personal attacks on her.
I have news for them. That strategy is not working. Whether they like it not, she is out there exercising her First Amendment rights. I know this scares them.
The point of my letter is to show how simple-minded these hatemongers are; it's not to give people reasons to support Sarah Palin. Watch and listen to her on your own and make up your own minds.
Ronald Melone, Clearwater
Letters on Sarah Palin | Feb. 15
Take her seriously
I agree completely with two of the letter writers that Sarah Palin, as a serious candidate in 2012, would be a complete disaster for this country, in many respects. She must, however, be taken seriously, as David Broder says (Sarah Palin impresses, Feb. 11). This is not for what she espouses, but for what she represents.
Palin is the poster child for the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party and, as such, she is delivering its message to an ever larger segment of the electorate. How? By her folksy, down-home persona and language as she delivers speeches that have been written for her. As one letter writer says, "There is no original thought" there. This is evident when she is interviewed by the media on a one-to-one basis. She is unintelligible.
However, as I said before, she must be taken seriously. There are many people out there who think that she is the next great hope for this country. As the bumper sticker says: "Beware of the power of a large number of stupid people."
She may not be a candidate in 2012, but she does influence a large number of people who vote.
Another bumper sticker says: "Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open." Keep an open mind and recognize Sarah Palin for what she is and what she represents.
Howard Webster, Trinity
Corporations and First Amendment
A purchase problem
If corporations are considered people and can be afforded full First Amendment rights, why are we allowed to buy and sell them? Since it is illegal to buy or sell a person, at the very least, mergers should be illegal.
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
Airport body scanners violate Islamic law, Muslims say | Feb. 12, story
I have no problem with Muslim's claiming that full-body security scanning violates Islamic law. Therefore, I will support their right not to have full- body scans when they fly.
However, since flying is a privilege, not a right, the consequence of not having a full-body scan is that they cannot fly. Case closed.
Robert Kerns, Largo
Florida State Fair
Discouraged by costs
I recently took my child to the Florida State Fair and was dismayed at the prices of rides and attractions. Rides are five or six tickets per person per ride and each ticket costs $1.
The fair is supposed to be a wonderful yearly event for families, and in these economic times very few people can afford prices like these, especially if they have more than one child.
The rides are cost-prohibitive, extra attractions cost extra money, pictures cost $20 to $25 a piece. I was very disappointed and will probably not return to the fair. This is the State Fair and should be available to everyone in Florida.
Keely R. Smith, Largo