Romney: Nearly half 'believe they are victims' | Sept. 18
Just who are the 47 percent?
As a Republican since I was 6, before I knew what a Republican was and I proudly wore an I Like Ike button, I have a few questions about Mitt Romney's talk in Boca Raton:
Who are the 47 percent who get entitlements?
Is it my eighth-grade teacher, 94-year-old Sister Ferrer, who taught thousands who are now successful citizens but who earned very little?
Is it my World War II era neighbors in Sun City Center who are part of the Greatest Generation?
Is it the young man at the grocery store who packs my groceries who has Down syndrome?
Is it the poorly educated who work for multimillionaires who pay them minimum wage?
Could it be some of the very wealthy in the audience in Boca Raton who collect Social Security, take deductions for their horse farms, have their businesses subsidized by the government, pay minimum wage and pay no taxes?
Mr. Romney, who are the 47 percent? I'd like to know.
Tom Cummings, Sun City Center
Young: Get out of the war | Sept. 18
Bring them home
Eleven years of war in which lives, limbs and treasure are increasingly seen as wasted "investments" in an area of the world whose understanding of "democracy" will not transcend the sixth century. May Rep. C.W. Bill Young's (better late than never) take on Afghanistan be the first of many politicians who develop the courage to advocate a swift withdrawal from the quagmire without being accused of being "soft on terrorism." There is no better way to support the troops than to bring them home.
Moe Loogham, Lutz
Middle East unrest
Bring on open criticism
Perhaps we are watching Islam go through a reformation, as did Christianity in the 1500s, when followers started questioning their religion and Catholicism started losing political power. Public criticism is the democratic way of overcoming public problems and abuses. Only when publicly criticizing religion becomes as popular as publicly criticizing government officials will we even start to resolve political and social divisiveness throughout the world.
Francis Prahl, St. Petersburg
Poverty is the problem | Sept. 17, column
What schoolchildren need
How refreshing to hear someone speak the truth others don't want to face. Newsday's Daniel Akst asserts that "the real problem with our schools isn't poor teachers or inadequate funding. The real problem is poverty." Instead of wringing our hands over teacher accountability or patting ourselves on the back for spending millions on smartboards and computer programs, we should turn our focus back onto the children we are supposed to be educating. When we are distracted by finger-pointing, FCAT scores and vouchers, we ignore the elephant in the room.
In our fragmented society, our schools can and should serve as a kind of social network for children and their families: on-site school nurses, social workers, parenting classes, individual and small-group tutoring, and so on. I can hear the Romney-ites groaning now — why should we care about the "victims" who expect government to take care of them? I've got news for you. When the "victims" are innocent children who will eventually be the adults of tomorrow, we all need to care.
Jennie Renfrow Ibarguen, St. Petersburg
Romneys' mixed message?
There has been a lot of talk recently of Ann Romney being the face of multiple sclerosis and how it will call attention to and help those suffering with this terrible disease. So the husband of this face of multiple sclerosis is going to make sure, if he is elected, that anyone who has multiple sclerosis and does not have insurance will not be able to buy insurance.
The only hope to cure this terrible disease is through medical research, which of course needs a great deal of funding. Ann Romney has made the obligatory stops at the hospitals and research facilities specializing in multiple sclerosis to let them know she is behind them. What she neglects to tell them is that the Romney-Ryan budget cuts medical research.
Jack Smith, Oldsmar
What can Rays show at Trop? | Sept. 17
Show more replays
I've often wondered why there were so few replays at the Rays games, and now I know. How sad. The last time I went we sat in the upper area of Section 2 and they had the live broadcast on TVs you could see from the seats so you could watch replays. MLB is missing the ball on this one. Why wouldn't they want to get the crowd more into the game by showing replays?
James Molloy, Pinellas Park
Theocratic thuggery knows no borders Daniel Ruth column, Sept. 14
Imagine, if you can
I could not agree more with Ruth. He says ignorance and fear are motivators for violence like the attack on our embassy by Muslim extremists, and for the attacks by Christian extremists and Muslim-phobes that occur in the United States. Ignorance and fear are the same motivators that both drive people to religion and keep them from questioning their religious myths, superstitions and other unscientific beliefs.
John Lennon prophetically wrote about his wish for people to be as one in Imagine, where he imagines a world of people living in peace, a world where there is no religion.
Will humankind ever be so enlightened?
Sylvia Scott, Largo
Stay vigilant on voter list | Sept. 15, editorial
Governor's shifty business
Rick Scott's voter purge is the antithesis of the often-touted "running government like a business." What business owner who had a theft issue of less than two one-thousandths of 1 percent of 11.4 million customers would design a plan to block customers from using his store? Can you imagine a business owner deciding to spend hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of dollars to solve such an insignificant problem?
Martin Peters, Tarpon Springs
Cogsworth, we'll try the bordeaux | Sept. 15
Leaves a bitter taste
I am shocked and dismayed not that the Magic Kingdom will be serving wine and beer but that it will be French. U.S. wines have been beating out French wines. And I have never heard one person order a Kronenbourg 1664 beer.
Haylee Gagnon, New Port Richey