Put the focus on economic hardship In the aftermath of the gossipy response to the debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin with incessant chatter about trivia like Joe's choking up moment and Sarah's winks and the rollicking Saturday Night Live satiric version, the Don Wright editorial cartoon on Monday put things in stark perspective. It showed a husband and wife debating whether or not the husband's lost job would lead to losing their home.
It also recalled a painful conversation I had with a woman standing in the long line waiting to get in to hear Barack Obama speak in Dunedin on Sept. 24.
As a volunteer I walked that line registering voters and helping people who'd moved change their addresses so they wouldn't be challenged on Election Day when the address on their registration didn't match their current address. An ordinary looking middle-aged woman motioned to me and said she'd like to change her address but didn't have one. "I lost my job, then I lost my home and now my address is the Pinellas Trail. I'm homeless. Does that mean I'll lose my vote too?"
It seems to me we should be debating how we became a society where people who work hard and through no fault of their own lose their jobs in a floundering economy and then find themselves at risk of losing everything, including their right to vote.
We need to debate how we can create a country where people don't live in fear of losing all semblance of security because of an economy that uses them and then casts them aside. Better yet, we need to have open-minded, open-hearted conversations about what kind of a country we want to become. And we need leaders who instead of speaking in slogans and perky canned lines will listen to and truly act in the interest of we the people.
Alison Strickland, Seminole
Unworthy campaign of lies | Oct. 7, editorial
Editorial takes the low road
Your editorial left me totally bewildered. I also listened to Gov. Sarah Palin's address but failed to arrive at the same conclusions as did you. Your analysis could easily have been written by the DNC or the Obama campaign staff.
Your attempted character assassination of Sen. John McCain, your gross distortion of his positions, your smear of his honor and reputation, and your innuendo that he is a racist "scaring white voters" are despicable.
I find it very troubling that you take offense that campaign "supporters (were) dressed in red, white and blue." I thought the American flag that those supporters made by wearing those colors was typical of campaign rallies. So are you going to advise Sen. Joe Biden's organizers to ban "red, white and blue" from their rally?
Your obvious bias does a terrible disservice to our community. The election is only weeks away, so there is still time for you to give your readers what they deserve: editorial integrity.
Tom Boyd, Largo
Unworthy campaign of lies | Oct. 7, editorial
Look who's talking
Bill Ayers was a leader in the Weather Underground. That's not a lie. Barack Obama and Bill Ayers worked together on education issues. That's not a lie. What campaign of lies are you talking about?
You say the McCain campaign shifted gears and changed the subject away from the economy. Did John McCain get the New York Times to print their story about Ayers and Obama?
The only campaign of lies I see is coming from the St. Petersburg Times.
Jim Clees, St. Petersburg
Palin's Clearwater appearance
During her campaign rally in Clearwater, Gov. Sarah Palin showed that even "mavericks" like her are comfortable getting their hands dirty with the ugly side of politics. Her continued claim that Barack Obama would "pal around with terrorists" is disgraceful. At a time when our nation faces a dismal future, Americans will not stand for the same nonsense we deal with every election cycle.
I heard no substance during the governor's speech, just politics as usual. Recycling lies and divisive one-liners is not going to win this election and it will certainly not help govern this country. These tactics may help win applause from the crowds coming to her rallies, but the rest of America won't allow this election to be "swift boated" again.
Chris Wheldon, Tampa
So, Sarah Palin says the "heels are on and the gloves are off." She is trying to link Barack Obama to a Vietnam era war protester who is now hiding in plain sight as a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a member of civic and charity boards. Obama was a child of 8 when William Ayers was an activist.
Next she may try to link Obama with Sacco and Vanzetti. Sarah will probably have to look that case up and get back to me.
Now let's look at Palin. Her husband, with whom I assume she associates, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party, which espouses secession from the United States. Its motto is "Alaska First, Alaska Always." Sarah Palin addressed their convention just this year. Sarah Palin apparently finds America so "imperfect" she would associate with secessionists! Didn't we fight a war over this?
Noreen Koehler, Tampa
Questions of character
A lot of information has been put out over the last 10 months or so about both of the major party candidates and their running mates. Some of it is true, some of it isn't.
I don't pretend to know what is important to you; I only know what is important to me. In the interest of brevity I will ask that if you don't know the meanings of each of these words, please look them up and then ask yourself how many of them you can honestly apply to your candidate. In no particular order here are some words that I find important.
Please vote. Hundreds of thousands of your fellow citizens died for your right to do so.
Tom Allen, Palm Harbor
11 Iraqis killed in U.S. raid | Oct. 6
This must be the most grotesque distortion of a headline ever. Despite what the headline says, the article clearly states that a suicide bomber detonated explosives when the U.S. military arrived.
The article clearly says that it is unclear if any U.S. military personnel fired their weapons, and that most of the dead appeared to have been killed by shrapnel. Yet, the Times headline reads like an indictment of our military. This is disgusting!
Robin D. Woods, Dunedin
Hate propaganda needs to be condemned and A needed warning | Oct. 6, letters
Moderates must speak up
There is much validity to both sides in this thousand-year-old argument. However, if the "peaceful" moderate Muslims want anyone to believe that they are not in agreement with the radical Islamist movement, let's see some action from them.
They should be making ongoing public announcements on TV, radio and in the newspapers condemning the radicals' behavior and ideology.
Steve Korn, Seminole
TIA's body scanner arrives in time for the holidays | Oct. 3
Let officials demonstrate
I see Tampa International Airport will be getting the new body scanner (electronic strip search) in November. Airport spokewoman Brenda Geoghagan says TIA will host a media preview of the scanner.
I think that Ms. Geoghagan and members of the Transportation Security Administration should volunteer to personally demonstrate the scanner for the media, to show everyone they are not carrying any "nonmetal weapons" on their bodies.
If you feel that this machine is a gross invasion of your privacy, please remember that you have the legal right to refuse it, and can have a TSA official search you instead. Imagine if everyone did just that, and we would demonstrate to the world what a million-dollar boat anchor looks like!
Bob Clark, Largo
Come home, Brutus | Sept. 30, BayLink story
Great dog tale
The article on the lost dog, Brutus, was awesome. It's my son's dog and we've had friends from all over the Tampa/St. Petersburg area e-mailing and calling about what a great story this was. Thanks so much for the story.
Maureen A. Nation, Midwest City, Okla.