Palestinian leader firm on condition for talks | Sept. 25
Palestinians deserve recognition
Israelis and Palestinians have been "negotiating" terms of surrender since the 1967 war. Israel has enjoyed recognition in the United Nations and received tremendous financial support from the United States for a half-century. Each year we have encouraged negotiations to settle boundaries and bring about peaceful coexistence, without success.
Each year the Palestinians lob a few explosives into Israel, and Israel reciprocates with unrestrained military force and expands occupation with thousands of settlements well within temporary Palestinian boundaries.
Nearly five decades have produced no advantages for the Palestinians. In fact, they are weakened more with each passing year with dilution of their land by Israel. Israel restricts building supplies, food and merchandise from reaching Palestine by its continuing blockade.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants to change the status quo by seeking membership in the United Nations. He thinks that the Palestinians deserve to be recognized as other than a subdued people under the control of Israel. Abbas thinks that the Palestinians should have rights that the Israelis have denied them for 50 years.
Recognition of Palestine in the United Nations would change the lopsided status quo that Israel has held and perhaps be the start of real good-faith negotiations. Denial of the right to be recognized as equals with the rest of the U.N. members is unjustified.
D. Hewitt, Parrish
Scott impresses party's activists | Sept. 25
China is not an enemy
Gov. Rick Scott's statement that "China doesn't have to threaten us with missiles; they just have to threaten to cancel our national credit card" is indicative of a man with no political or diplomatic skills. China is not an enemy of the United States and has never "threatened us with missiles." But merely because we borrow money from China, whose economy is doing well, Scott thinks them a military nemesis.
China does not export communism, as Russia did, or terrorism, and is entitled to its own form of government. Of course the "patriots" in attendance cheered wildly at Scott's ugly demagoguing.
Christopher Curley, Sun City Center
Your letters | Sept. 25
Tone down the rhetoric
Four of the six letters printed on Sept. 25 shared one thing in common — a shocking degree of vitriol that is beyond the pale.
Here is some of the terminology that appeared in those letters:
• "antidemocratic ... Dickensian child labor workhouses ... medieval hovels with no running water, sanitation ... utterly anti-American";
• "cruel, selfish and unpatriotic ... dangerous to America ... cutting social services ... our elderly and veterans risk poverty and poor health ... desire to gouge Medicare and Social Security";
• "inhumane, hateful and un-American";
These were used in the form of political attacks on those with whom they disagree. Whatever happened to reasoned, rational discussions and basic civility? Is it really necessary for the St. Petersburg Times to promote this kind of harsh, politically based rhetoric? And for what purpose? The Times would do well to encourage a higher level of discourse.
Dan Calabria, South Pasadena
Foreclosure move could cost us all Sept. 26, editorial
New revenue source needed
Maybe it's time for Gov. Rick Scott and our Legislature to find an alternative way to fund our statewide court operations other than the filing fee for foreclosures.
It is sad that more than 60 percent of the money used to fund statewide court operations during the past year came from foreclosure filing fees. The misery that these foreclosures bring on so many of our residents shouldn't be something our state budget depends on.
Besides, one day, hopefully sooner than later, we are bound to run out of houses to foreclose on. Then how will we fund our court system?
Diana Rao, Tampa
Can Cain's '9-9-9 plan' work? | Sept. 27
Not a workable answer
What Herman Cain is proposing is similar to the value-added tax in Britain. But one of the major differences is that wages are a lot higher in Britain than the puny checks handed out in Florida, where salaries to a large extent are pegged to low-paying tourism and hospitality jobs. The middle class in this state and the rest of the country is rapidly becoming little more than a memory.
A 9 percent income tax on top of state taxes will result in a strong demand for higher wages, which, while good in one sense, will result in higher prices. There is no winner here.
John Ennis, Hudson
Freed hikers back in U.S. | Sept. 26
Next time, hike here
So the American hikers in Iran had their 15 minutes of fame. I'm surprised that nobody questioned them why they chose to hike in the barren terrain when there are so many beautiful hiking trails in the United States — North Carolina, Montana, Utah, just to name a few.
And they don't know who paid the $1 million bail? Probably the State Department, that is, taxpayers.
To minimize the taxpayer burden in the future, I suggest that they buy themselves a treadmill, to hike safely, close to home.
Michael Pasek, Pinellas Park
Asthma inhalers | Sept. 27
Health put at risk
Primatine Mist is due to be pulled from the shelves of thousands of national retailers by Dec. 31. This thought leaves me and millions of asthma sufferers gasping for breath.
To take away a safe, inexpensive drug and replace it with an expensive "ozone-safe" drug will surely put lives at risk. Tens of thousands of patients will not have the ability to pay for higher-priced prescription drugs.
The FDA's solution is for those who cannot afford treatment to visit a free clinic, public hospital or a government program. This just takes already overburdened programs and stretches them further.
What matters most is our right as American citizens to choose a treatment that works for us. When our choices of treatment are taken away, so is our freedom.
Terence J. McNally Jr., South Pasadena