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Volunteer for a better America

Volunteer for a better America This week will mark the seventh anniversary of the dreadful attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On Thursday, our two presidential candidates will join together to honor those who tragically lost their lives that day. Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama will meet in New York City and visit ground zero together.

That same evening, they also will take the opportunity to share their vision for engaging Americans in service to our country at a bipartisan event entitled ServiceNation. At 8 p.m. both presidential candidates will participate in a forum at Columbia University before 700 leaders in national service programs and nonprofit volunteer agencies, as well as top military personnel, major faith organizers, national corporate executives and a few governors.

Major television cable outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, are expected to cover this forum live at 8 p.m., so all of America can see firsthand the thoughts and ideas our two national candidates for president have about service and volunteering.

The following day, these leaders supporting the volunteer and service sector will attend sessions covering virtually every area of service, exploring ways we as Americans can address our nation's most pressing problems, ranging from homelessness, to education, to the needs of seniors, to disaster preparedness and response, and more.

I can't think of a better time than now to get engaged in national service or volunteering, especially through AmeriCorps and other national service programs.

Let's maximize this opportunity to build on current waves of enthusiasm for service and get behind this effort to build a better America. See for more details on this historic event.

Visit to find a volunteer center in your community or explore the possibility of committing a year to national service at

Wendy Spencer, chief executive officer, Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Volunteer Florida)

Stop the workplace raids | Sept. 8, commentary by Justin Akers Chacon

Immigrants are welcome if they come here legally

This professor of U.S. history and Chicano studies obviously must be a little to the left of Hillary Clinton, as are many educators, celebs, media types, union leaders and the like.

What is it about these people that they do not follow the concept of "illegal." Laws are written for the betterment of the majority. I do not care how many people immigrate to this country as long as they do so "legally." How is having illegals here good for of our country? If these millions of people are not here legally, I doubt that they are paying their fair share of taxes. They are well versed in the system of obtaining free medical care, food, education, public assistance, etc., while sending money made here back to their homeland. How does this help our economy? This country should not be a welfare station as we have enough economic problems without outsiders as it is.

If you want to come this country, fine, only do it legally.

Dennis P. Condon, Palm Harbor

Stop the workplace raids | Sept. 8, commentary

Aim at employers

Justin Chacon is a failure as a U.S. history teacher and instead has become a blind advocate of illegal immigration, ignoring federal laws and permitting scofflaw employers to pay the illegals such low wages that it amounts to a form of servitude.

If the despicable employers who benefit from the illegals' sweat and blood were arrested, fined and put in jail, the practice would cease. Chacon should use his energy to promote decent pay for the work now being done by illegals, so anyone would be willing to do that job. His quotes from Barack Obama and other politicians as being correct and far-sighted are painfully slanted.

Tom Brown, Holiday

The support the Palins really need | Sept. 8, commentary

Baby should have come first

Ellen Crosby's piece was right on the money as to what Down's syndrome children (and adults) have to endure. What she did not say was so loud it jumped off the page: That baby needs his mother! Sarah Palin went back to work when he was 3 days old! Is that showing respect for the baby she chose to have? Who's going to raise this child and go through the pain and agony described by Crosby? It certainly won't be Sarah Palin.

She should have given up her governor's job the day she found out about the Down's syndrome in order to give that poor child all the love and care he will need for his entire life.

Kay Kelly, Clearwater

The support the Palins really need | Sept. 8, commentary

Facts before fluff

Now that I am painfully aware of what Sarah Palin and her family need, I thought it time for you in "news land" to know what I, as an American citizen need to know. I need to have the facts, not the fluff, so I can make an informed decision when I choose my next president.

I need to know that our presidential candidates have some plan to fix the financial mess that has resulted from the lack of supervision of our financial lending institutions by the current administration.

I need to know exactly what our presidential candidates plan to do to get us out of these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have no visible end in sight.

I need to know what the plan is to ensure that all of us have health care coverage, not just the very rich or the very poor.

I need to know that our vice presidential candidate, who may be just a heartbeat away from being commander in chief, has the skills and experience to assume that role. I know that Sen. Joe Biden is capable; now show me that Palin is as well.

I do not need another article describing in excruciating detail the dynamics of Palin's family. I totally support Barack Obama's policy of keeping the families out of the presidential race.

With less than two months left before Election Day, I deserve the facts, not the fluff.

Diana Rao, Tampa

Sarah Palin and special needs children

We need health care

As a lifelong prochoice Democrat and the parent of a child with special needs, I was deeply offended by Sarah Palin's efforts to utilize her newborn child for electoral gain. Palin's choice to give birth to a child with Down's syndrome is an admirable one (though I can't help wondering if she fully appreciates what she is getting into), but it has nothing to do with being prolife. I know many wonderful parents of special children, both Republicans and Democrats, prolife and prochoice, and we all love our children just as much.

What really rankles about the speech is that special needs children and their families have suffered as a result of the mean-spirited Republican policies that Palin endorses. Some 47-million Americans are without health insurance.

If Palin really wants to help the disabled community, she should endorse universal health care and fully fund disability services. Anything less is just a cheap publicity stunt.

David Harvey, Sarasota

Volunteer for a better America 09/09/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 15, 2008 10:23am]
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