Law gives voters even more options | May 23 column
Vote to protect your rights
Secretary of State Kurt Browning's column about legislation that restricts voter access would be amusing if it weren't so destructive. The new law effectively limits access to the ballot box for the poor of Florida, in the name of "combating voter fraud," by shrinking the mandated hours of early voting.
The law's other provisions are also discriminatory. When the League of Women Voters declares that the law will effectively shut down their registration drives and disenfranchise many poor people, I think it's reasonable to conclude that Mr. Browning, like the governor, is selling another bill of goods.
Good people of Florida, we have another opportunity to correct this wrongheaded attack on us. I urge you to stand up, register, and vote. If all the citizens that are eligible to vote in 2012 do so, I predict that the composition of the Legislature will be vastly different. Perhaps then, we will have a government that is responsive to the people, instead of the corporations.
Joe Eduardo, Plant City
Law gives voters even more options May 23 column
Voter fraud nonexistent
I understand that many people hate it when facts get in the way of their opinions, but it bears repeating: Voter fraud is nearly nonexistent. In a two- year period, there may be 150 cases of voter fraud in the entire country, and perhaps 30 are actually prosecuted.
The Bush Justice Department tried to force U.S. attorneys to prosecute voter fraud crimes and were upset that virtually none were found. Apparently all of this fraud is committed by Democrats, since new voter regulations are being proposed in 22 states controlled by Republicans and aimed at voters who are perceived as leaning Democratic. But if there is such massive voter fraud during elections, how is it that Republicans won everything in 2010?
Steve Harden, Holiday
Browning's take on new voting law is a stretch | May 24 PolitiFact
Newspaper bias showing
We know the day has started when we see the sunrise. We know the "election season" has started when the St. Petersburg Times realizes the electoral process isn't being run according to its agenda, hence the editorial posing as a PolitiFact article.
Let's consider the options available to Pinellas County voters. First, there are several hundred polling places open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. Then we have ballot-by-mail, formerly known as the absentee ballot. And finally, the present bee in your editorial bonnet, early voting.
To use a hackneyed phrase, back in the day, the polls were open on election day and that was it. Now we have polling places open for 12 hours, ballot-by-mail and early voting. Exercise a bit of personal responsibility and vote.
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Turning back history; Stand up for Israel May 24 letters
Land swaps ignored
How amazing to see American citizens blindly supporting a foreign leader named Benjamin Netanyahu as he attacks President Barack Obama. Not one, but two letter writers (following the same script) claimed that Obama demands Israel give back all the land it conquered in 1967. They ignore that twice Obama included the phrase "land swaps" as crucial to the negotiations. That will guarantee that if peace is achieved, it will not be based on the 1967 borders that so frighten Netanyahu. Netanyahu continues to place Jewish settlers in those contested areas and then claims the occupied territory as Israel's because his settlers stole it. If that is justice, then apartheid is just as well. So enough with the propaganda — Obama's policy is no different than the last four American presidents. What is different is how shrill Israel's fanatic cheerleaders have become.
Daniel Callaghan, New Port Richey
Writers misread Obama
The authors of these letters are misreading or misunderstanding — or both — President Barack Obama's stand on borders between Israel and Palestine. His statement included the phrase "adjusted for land swaps." That means the borders as determined in 1967 will be adjusted according to agreements yet to be made concerning demographic and geographic changes. As is typical, right wingers are sounding off without full understanding of the truth — or they are willfully distorting it.
Bill Balmer, Seminole
Study: Abuse by clergy drops off | May 19
Catholic leaders in denial
The Catholic Church's report on sexual abuse blames a popular conservative bogeyman, the 1960s. The report posits sexual abuse as a coping response to societal change. Mitigating language is used to indicate that child abuse by Catholic priests is no more prevalent than abuse that occurs within the Boy Scouts, athletic organizations or other religions.
The Catholic Church's report distances the distinction between rational and irrational thought. It states that the definition of normal behavior is not stable over time and that deviance is subjective. This self-serving (ill)logic ignores cognitive dissonance and diverts blame. But reclassifying pedophilia is the clearest example of insanity. According to the report, 11 years old is the maximum age for defining child abuse as pedophilia. The Catholic Church has yet to face reality; it's a good thing I'm not holding my breath.
Gene O'Brien, Palm Harbor
Fear Monger | May 24
Cartoonist misses mark
Normally I just laugh silently about people's reactions to the cartoons on the editorial pages. But when the Philadelphia Inquirer's Signe Wilkinson conflated the incoherent ramblings of a doomsayer with the scientific evidence of global warming I found myself getting a little hot under the collar. The two bear no relation to one another and the artist might consider putting down the pen and picking up a book. How's that for conflation?
Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg
Janssen blames trouble on loyalty | May 20
Janssen doing good job
I would like to know what your agenda is in trying to destroy Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Julie Janssen? Is there a need to put her personal trial and tribulations on the front page? She is trying to perform her job under difficult circumstances and all you do is drag out her personal dirty laundry. Her supervisors (the school board) feel as though as she is functioning at a high level and that is all that matters. Please move on and leave the personal attacks to the tabloids unless that is where you have established yourselves now.
Peter Serbanos, Clearwater