New voting machines
Voting system will frustrate many
I voted Tuesday morning using the new optical scan process. While it will solve one problem, I believe it will raise others.
It's more time-consuming than previous systems, requiring me to sign in twice, receive the ballot, bubble in the ballot, and then go another line to feed the ballot into the scanner. This fall's presidential election will bring out many more voters, some of which may have never voted before. Coupled with a longer time to vote, this will produce long lines and frustrations. Some people will not wait and will walk away.
The concept of a secret ballot is at the heart of our voting process. This new system requires a poll worker to stand next to me while I feed the ballot, face up and readable, into the scanner. How secret is that? Why not use a system that requires the ballot to be put in face down?
This is not the panacea most people sought, especially Gov. Crist. It won't be the last system we use!
Mary La Plant, Palm Harbor
Hanging chad again?
I voted Tuesday. There wasn't any wait so the poll workers had plenty of time to explain what you needed to do and to make sure you went through all four steps. Thank goodness the ballot wasn't very long because it is a tedious process filling in all the bubbles completely with pen. What if you change your mind or make a mistake?
After your ballot is accepted, you are then given a customer service survey based on the volunteers' performance. This completely misses the point. The ballot leaves a large margin for error. The print is small. What happens if you don't fill in the bubble completely enough? I would assume it doesn't count. Shades of the hanging chad.
This method opens up the whole election to potential controversy. It is like we took two steps forward and 10 steps back.
Linda Ermatinger, Palm Harbor
It's Michelle Obama's night of opportunity Aug. 25, story
Look at the whole person
This article quoted a 66-year-old independent saying Michelle (Robinson) Obama's 1985 college thesis "is scary." The thesis was written by a student more than 20 years ago.
As to the statement, "This is the first time I'm proud to be an American as an adult," I am too, because it is time we moved away from even looking at the color of a person's skin when considering if someone is intelligent enough to be elected president of the United States.
Michelle Obama, thankfully, seems to know her own mind. Hopefully, independents will work to understand why she has said what she has been purported to say, rather than simply criticize it and say, "It's scary." It is critical that no one statement be considered by itself. Look at the whole, not just the separate pieces.
Judi Larson, Sun City Center
U.S. actions undermine the case against Russia | Aug. 17
Iraq, Georgia hardly similar
This article couldn't be further from the mark when it compares the Russian invasion of Georgia with the war in Iraq and asserts there isn't much difference.
Let me remind readers of the events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In 1991, Iraq invaded Kuwait with the sole objective of adding that state and its oil to Saddam Hussein's concept of a greater Mesopotamia. The first President Bush assembled a multinational coalition of military forces that drove the Iraqi military out of Kuwait.
The coalition's push was halted on the outskirts of Baghdad when Hussein agreed to a cease-fire based on U.N. Security Council Resolution 687. I invite readers to read the text of that resolution. I also invite readers to read the following Security Council resolutions detailing Hussein's cease-fire violations: 678, 686, 687, 688, 707, 715, 949, 1051, 1060, 1115, 1134, 1137, 1194 and 1284.
Resolution 687 makes it obvious that the council and the world at large believed that Iraq was in possession of chemical, biological and radiological weapons and had threatened to use them.
In Security Council Resolution 1441 of Nov. 8, 2002, the Security Council determined:
(1) That Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction constitutes a threat to international peace and security;
(2) That Iraq has failed — in clear violation of its legal obligations — to disarm; and
(3) That, in consequence, Iraq is in material breach of the conditions for the cease-fire laid down at the end of the hostilities in 1991, thus reviving the authorization for the use of force.
Where is any similar trail of events leading to the Russian incursion into Georgia? How on earth can anyone draw such a parallel?
Stephen Small, Indian Rocks Beach
Going green, low-tech
While we are all waiting in desperation for the invention or discovery of something that will provide us with a cheap, limitless supply of clean energy, there already exists at least one low-tech, inexpensive, elegant solution to significantly reduce our extreme energy consumption: planting shade trees around our houses and office buildings.
If you want to help clean up our polluted air — trees help accomplish this — as well as enjoy a huge reduction in your electric bill, shade your home and workplace with shrubs and trees.
Tom Bird, Tampa
Writer's lies exposed
It is good to see that Americans have wised up as far as the swift boat tactics of the right are concerned. The nasty book of lies put out by Jerome Corsi has been scrutinized by journalists and Corsi has been exposed for what he is.
Corsi has long-term ties to extreme right-wing, white supremacist hate groups. He writes for the ultraright World Net Daily. He's called Arabs "ragheads," Bill Clinton an "anti-American communist," Islam a "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion," Martin Luther King a "shake-down artist," and Katie Couric "Little Katie Communist."
Thank you to the fine professionals in all forms of media for a job well done. Maybe investigative journalism isn't dead after all.
Terry Kerr, St. Petersburg
USF student to feel deep cuts | Aug. 20
School cuts hurt our future
Budget cuts in education are only hurting the future. The staff at the University of South Florida has already sacrificed so much.
People seem surprised that students are dropping out because they do not have money for gas, rent and especially tuition. USF Health alone is facing a $6.7-million cut.
Older state schools such as UF and FSU are getting these cuts, however they also have millions and millions in alumni donations to compensate.
Remember, the same students who are facing these cuts and even dropping out are going to be the same people running businesses and government in tomorrow's world.
Julie Ball, Brandon