Excessive spending is to blame
After all this country has been through this year, especially the downgrading of our precious credit rating, a feeling of helplessness comes over us. Then we hear the Democrats call this sad event a "tea party downgrade." The tea party exists only because of the out-of-control spending by President Barack Obama.
If Obama had governed from the middle, he could have removed a very weakened Republican Party from the equation. Instead, the country is awakened and we now have people who believe in living within our means and the Constitution.
As one commentator said, Democrats calling our credit downgrading a "tea party down-grade" is like saying the Betty Ford Center is responsible for alcoholism.
Tim Brown, Valrico
Do what's best for nation
Republicans made a mess of the debt ceiling request and got an agreement to set up a super committee to work with the Democrats to enact compromises to lower the debt. Then they turn around and appoint members who have taken the so-called no-tax vow or pledge.
How about appointing members who take a pledge to do what is best for America instead of what is best for themselves? Once the election is over, these officials are supposed to represent all of us.
Michael Davis, Zephyrhills
I found the "In the Know" item "Six conservatives join debt panel" interesting. I don't recall if you labeled the Democratic selections as "six liberals," but I doubt it.
As to Sen. Patty Murray's selection as one of the Democrats, I found her statement that one thing "we are not going to cut is Medicare" astonishing. My goodness, but Murray certainly has a good grasp on the problem.
Charlie Orr, Tampa
Neglect of civics undermines nation | Aug. 11, editorial
New requirement will help
If the writer had done some research, he or she would know that as of this school year, 2011-2012, all seventh graders in Florida will be required to take civics as their core social studies course.
This was passed by the Legislature and is known as the Sandra Day O'Connor Act. The former U.S. Supreme Court justice is a strong advocate of educating our youth about the American process of representative democracy.
Yes, it is a shame that most Americans will not know as much as the state's seventh graders. I tell my students that before the end of the course they will know more than most adults. The stimulating factor is that the topics spark conversations among the students and the adults in their lives.
With this course in place, the voting populace should show an improvement in the number of involved citizens in the democratic process.
Carol Hess, Hudson
Paul put the kettle on for tea party | Aug. 11
Standing for Constitution
Unlike the "Republicrats" and their cronies, the only thing "anti-Washington" about Ron Paul is that he has spent his entire political career standing up for the U.S. Constitution while refusing to sell his soul and the American Dream to the highest bidder.
Paul, like many who still value individual liberty and free markets, thoroughly comprehends that intrusive manipulation of interest rates and the money supply results in not only predictable boom and bust cycles but also unsustainable inflation.
As a presidential candidate, what Paul does not possess in the way of a Hollywood smile and orchestrated sound bites, he more than makes up for through his passion for our country, his challenge to the status quo, and his persistent attempts to educate voters on why a strict adherence to free market economics is in our best long-term interests.
Michael Castleman, Gulfport
I was delighted to see the article in the Times on Ron Paul and his campaign. As I have educated myself about Paul and his positions, one thing I have noticed is the lack of coverage by most media outlets. Whether one thinks Paul is a front-runner or a fringe presidential candidate, his philosophical conversation about our country is both laudable and of grave importance.
Until we examine how money is used, and for what ends, in our society, major change will not happen. As Paul represents and seeks to foster such a conversation, his recognition by a local paper is noteworthy indeed.
Adam Padgett, Tampa
Faces of the 30 fallen | Aug. 12
Sacrifice not shared
As a mother and a grandmother, it breaks my heart to look into the faces of so many beautiful Americans killed in the helicopter crash in Afghanistan. I cannot help but believe that if we had the draft, requiring everyone to serve, these wars would have been over long before now.
Margaret Hyde, Clearwater
Shoppers' stimulus | Aug. 13
A glaring omission
I have always thought the school sales tax holiday was a bad idea because it makes so little difference in individuals' lives yet such a big difference in our state's budget. But this year I'm livid.
The tax holiday enacted to give a break on school-related expenses had no exemption for books. Yet you could buy tax-free hunting and fishing vests, bowling shoes and ski boots (so necessary for Florida students).
Anita Jimenez, Ruskin
Cuba to Florida swim is called off | Aug. 10
As a baby boomer myself who is humbly turning 60 at the end of this year, I was impressed by the tenacity and bravery of 61-year-old long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. Her recent and unfortunately unsuccessful second attempt to traverse the shark-infested gulf waters from Cuba to Key West was a testament to her generation.
Nyad is a noted public speaker and holds the world record for swimming 102.5 miles from Bimini to Florida in 1979.
With all her accomplishments, she is indicative of the millions of men and women in our country who have displayed the courage and conviction to seek amazing accomplishments despite their age.
Mike Merino, Tampa