RNC: No debates for CNN or NBC | Aug. 17
Party on path to self-destruction
The Republican National Committee is blocking CNN and NBC from hosting any debates because each network is planning a documentary about Hillary Clinton. At the same time, they announce there will be fewer Republican debates, because too many debates (with "hostile moderators") hurt Mitt Romney in the last election.
How ironic: Just as too much information about their candidates will be harmful, so too will too much information about their opponents hurt their chances. Once again they are insulting the intelligence of the electorate and don't even know it. My former Grand Old Party is self-destructing already, 26 months out from the election.
Duke Miller, Anna Maria
Boycotts can go both ways
What an excellent time for the adults in the room to stand up against this Republican bullying tactic. At a minimum, CNN and NBC should just tell the Republican National Committee that until such time as they are allowed to televise a GOP primary debate, neither CNN nor NBC will mention a single Republican presidential hopeful or anything associated with the Republican primary process.
A complete blackout of GOP primary news would not only answer the bullies, but actually give us a break from what I am sure will be another "clown fest."
John Hayes, Sun City Center
Congress outraged at latest NSA news Aug. 17
Snowden is a hero
The disclosure of serious malfeasance by the National Security Agency has raised many questions, one of which seems to have been overlooked. Is Edward Snowden a treasonous fugitive from justice, as charged, or the victim of gross injustice?
In a 180-degree turnabout, many now recognize Snowden as a wise and bold patriot who, single-handedly and at indescribable personal risk, exposed major illegal operations of a (heretofore) highly trusted, powerful government agency.
It is time for an about-face and a sincere apology to Snowden; time to bring him home and welcome him back as a hero.
Seymour S. Bluestone, Clearwater
All-American profit | Aug. 17
Contempt as entertainment
I haven't seen the Broadway production featured on the front page of the Times, but the article reports the show is the "hottest ticket of the year" and a 2011 Tony Award winner. The show's "merciless mocking of religion," "filled with vulgar lyrics and an irreverent plot," continues to play to "102 percent capacity."
Shouldn't we be more careful about what we promote as entertainment? Tastes in entertainment change with cultural sensibilities. At one point in our history, the American stage featured blackface entertainers and Native American caricatures. What if this production targeted Jews, or Muslims? Why is it all right in the name of "entertainment" to insult, scorn, tease and show contempt for a specific group of Americans?
Who will be the next target of this bully we call "entertainment"? Who will laugh along with the bully for fear they will be targeted next, and who will stand up for the victim?
Charles Watford, Odessa
Al-Qaida threat growing in Iraq, diplomats warn | Aug. 16
U.S. role in Iraqi violence
This situation is developing "nearly two years after U.S. troops withdrew" from Iraq, the inference being that it was our withdrawal that led to the present violence, which is the exact opposite of the truth.
This is a perfect example of what Maureen Dowd called "Bush World," where up is down, in is out, black is white and wrong is right. Secular Sunni Saddam Hussein was the sworn enemy of al-Qaida, which had no presence in Iraq until George W. Bush deposed him and handed power to the radical fundamentalist Shiites, at which time al-Qaida rushed in to fight the invaders (us).
It should be remembered that in 2008 the Senate Intelligence Committee voted that the invasion of Iraq had greatly increased the danger to this country. However, thanks to the apathy and ignorance of the American people, Bush and his gang will never be called to account for the ongoing disaster that is Iraq, a disaster that they caused and which President Barack Obama prefers to ignore.
R.G. Wheeler, St. Petersburg
Signed, sealed and delivered no more Aug. 18
Making matters worse
After reading about the policy changes at the Hillsborough County jail that take effect on Sept. 1 — not allowing inmates to receive letters from their loved ones nor being able to purchase books, even if delivered directly from retailers — I felt indignant.
The majority of these prisoners sooner or later will return to our community. It is not necessary to make their lives in prison even more damaged. Not letting inmates have access to the letters of their loved ones and not allowing them to purchase books is not going to change their behavior for the better. They will leave jail even more revolted, more mentally and psychologically damaged.
What is the intent of making the change? Increased security? Is the police officer reviewing the mail unable to find drugs, weapons, etc.? Or is it saving money? Think about the cost to society of releasing damaged inmates, and compare this to the minor cost of performing the screening.
We should all think about what prisons could do to improve prisoners' role in society. Cutting family connections is not the answer.
Virginia Mercia Pearson, Palm Harbor