Every year over the past 30 years or so our executive and legislative branches of government have foolishly managed our finances on borrowed money _ deficit spending. Now our national debt stands at $3-trillion and Congress and the president speak only of reducing the deficit rather than reducing our national debt. Notwithstanding our present expenses in the Persian Gulf, none of these men wants to cut down military spending or foreign aid or to cut down or to cut out domestic give-away programs because they might lose a few votes or they might lose monetary donations from the myriad of lobbyists in Washington. Apparently none of them is astute enough to learn from history. There is a phenomenon, no, more a truth that is known as "global overstretch" which has caused the demise of the great empires of the Hapsburgs (Spain, Prussia, Austria), the French, and lastly the English all since the year 1500 A.D. None of these empires fell precipitously. It took many years of deficit spending to protect what they felt were their economic interests globally and to assuage the domestic monetary demands of their populace. It is my feeling as well as many other thinking Americans that we are on a rapid downhill course to disaster unless we correct this "global overstretch" and national debt immediately. All of the above empires worked themselves into financial catastrophes by continuous borrowing until they could find no buyers for their bonds just as we are finding today that our government bonds are no longer desired by Japan, Germany and England and the remainder of the world.
One of the reasons people fled other countries in the past was persecution by taxes and the desire to have a better standard of living. The president and Congress continue to add "new" and different taxes, and taxes upon a tax such as Social Security, without cutting any spending. Taxation supposedly is to be equal for all our people, but equality of taxation is absent.
We cannot continue to spend money we do not have; and we cannot continue to give foreign aid and to protect the economic interests of other countries without their paying fully for this protection. Our industrial base is shrinking and our agriculture is in decline. Our infrastructure is decaying. Our people, our country cannot stand prolongation of this trend; and national financial bankruptcy, severe depression, lower standard of living and eventual national and international demise is inevitable. Still these men fight among themselves, Democrats and Republicans, for their short-term selfish ends rather than cooperate fully for once in their lives for the good of the entire nation.
Certainly these men are not wholly responsible for the debts built up over the past 37 years; but certainly these are the men in control who can and should do something about our present situation.
This is an appeal for severe and immediate action to Democrats and Republicans alike to correct our precarious situation. If they do not correct it, these men will be prominent in history among the politicians who will be blamed for our demise.
Robert O. Koehler, M.D., Odessa
XXX = NC-17
Equivalency (identity) is an important principle of algebra (If A = B and B = C, then A = C). This principle provides a unique analysis of the new Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) movie rating system.
1. XXX = Hard-core pornography = Adults only (no one under 17 admitted).
2. X = adult themes = Adults only (no one under 17 admitted).
3. NC-17 = No Children = Adults only (no one under 17 admitted).
4. Therefore: XXX = X and NC-17 and XXX = NC-17.
5. Conclusion: If Henry & June = NC-17, then Henry & June also = XXX.
XXX movies feature actors and actresses performing explicit sex acts to make money for the film's producers.
The MPAA wants me to believe the NC-17 movie Henry & June is different because it features actors and actresses performing explicit sex acts artistically to make money for the film's producers.
Any movie that depends on explicit sex (artistic or not) to provide meaning to the story deserves a XXX. There are sufficient adult theaters to provide XXX entertainment to those who want it. We don't need more. My family will stop attending theaters and theater chains which choose to show NC-17 movies.
John Nelson, Tampa
I find the religious communities' uproar about the adoption of the NC-17 rating hilarious, especially the comment that NC-17 is merely the attempt to disguise an X movie with a "euphemism."
The religious community has been attempting to sneak religion back into the public school system for years under the disguise of "creationism" or "creation science," both euphemisms for a non-scientific approach to encouraging acceptance of absurd propositions based on their beliefs.
As the saying goes, "Turnabout is fair play."
Brent Yaciw, Seminole
Making the best
I am a soldier with 24th Infantry Division. My husband and I are in the same company, B Co. 24 SIG BN. We have five children and when we deployed we left them with our families.
My father has sent me clippings from the St. Petersburg Times about Saudi. I can almost laugh when I read about our "sugar coated" conditions here. First off, the forward units (mine). We don't have any laundry service, unless you count our own hands, a bucket, and a box of Tide.
We train during the day and night. We are a 24-hour operation.
Until recently, we ate three MRE (meals ready to eat) a day with water, hot chow (1 to 2 times a day) just became available. We don't play volleyball, walk around in shorts or civilian clothes. Each and every moment, we are alert to anything happening. I don't resent being here, nor does my husband; we are doing our job.
Although we read about all of the neat things being sent here from kind souls, i.e. cards, letter, non-alcoholic beer, we don't see them, but we do appreciate the thought.
We just want our loved ones to know that we are not having a good time but we make the best of our situation.
Spec. L. Griner, Operation Desert Shield
Speaking for the members of the Suncoast League of Municipalities on behalf of the mayors and other elected officials of the cities in this five-county area, we ask all citizens to vote Yes Nov. 6 on Amendment 3.
Amendment 3 will force state legislators to act responsibly and not force local governments to take on tasks which force us to raise local taxes. It takes the "credit card" away from state legislators and makes them responsible for their actions. Responsible state legislators agree with us.
The Pinellas County Council of Mayors, Florida League of Cities, Florida Association of Counties and Florida Tax Watch are all with us in urging you to vote Yes on Amendment 3.
Please don't let the complex wording confuse you. Keep local taxes local by voting Yes on Amendment 3 Nov. 6.
Bob McEwen, Mayor, Indian Shores and Publicity
Chairman, Suncoast League of Municipalities
A collection of hypocrites
The United Nations represents the biggest collection of hypocrites in the world. Just recently that great center of justice voted to send a delegation to investigate the deaths of 21 Palestinians. But Iraq used poison gas to murder over 5,000 Kurds. Where was the U.N. delegation then? Saddam Hussein then turned the poison gas on Iran in a war that Iraq had started. What did the United Nations do about that? But Iraq is not the only sinner nation. When the Chinese leaders murdered several thousand of their own peaceful citizens asking for democracy, did the United Nations send a delegation to investigate? Years earlier China invaded Tibet, and conquered that poor inoffensive country. Did the United Nations send anyone to investigate? Syria has been murdering people by the thousands in Lebanon with no complaint from the United Nations. The government of Argentina ordered the murder of thousands of its citizens by throwing them out of airplanes. Did the United Nations pass any resolutions condemning this action?
More recently there have been civil wars in Liberia, Ethiopia and Uganda, where hundreds of thousands have been killed. Why didn't the United Nations send a delegation to determine if those governments were elected ones or dictatorships that should be overthrown? Then comes an angry mob determined to attack some people at prayer in Israel, and in self-defense, 21 of the rioting gang are killed. Our great good lover of justice and keeper of the peace (the United Nations) springs into action and votes to send a delegation to investigate Israel (but not Iraq, not China, not Syria, not Argentina, not Ethiopia, not Liberia, not Uganda, and not the PLO that has ordered the murder of hundreds of Palestinians). What greater insult can the United Nations pay to Israel (and to itself)? Israel is absolutely right to reject such one-sided and hypocritical treatment.
But why do Bush, Baker, Thatcher and so many columnists, editorial writers, and newscasters join in this vast exercise of hypocrisy?
W. Goodman, Tampa
Just who do Pinellas County and Swiftmud think they are? They have no right to set such drastic restrictions as would allow lawns, shrubs and trees to die. The average home with lawn and mature plants has an outside investment alone, of thousands of dollars. You will not reimburse us for that or make up the difference of declining property values, will you?
For years we have had serious water shortage problems, in the face of ever-increasing population growth, and with all the possibilities of finding alternate long-term solutions, our county and water authority chose to sit on their hands and do nothing, except draw more water from fast-growing Pasco County.
The inept and inefficient county engineers of 15 years ago, whose on-site water pipe inspection indicated those that were defective, are to blame for this fiasco. So now the water authority and Pinellas County think they are going to saddle this water conservation problem solely on the backs of the citizens and property owners. Forget it. As civic-minded citizens, we will know that we have a problem when our Chamber of Commerce discourages thousands of tourists from vacationing in this area, when a flat-out building moratorium is established until we have adequate water.
Sure hotels, motels and restaurants will be hurt, but our home investments are just as important to us as theirs. When business is hurt, there will be corrective action taken.
Only a fool would abide by these water restrictions so that water saved could serve thousands of newcomers and special-interest groups. Unless we have a concerted effort by all of our civic groups and our newspapers in addressing this problem, we all stand to lose a great deal. Certainly, the Florida we envision will not be ours.
B. Wright, Clearwater
The public's waterfront
Re: A policy for the waterfront, editorial Oct. 15.
I agree that we're suffering a gradual encroachment of St. Petersburg's waterfront. But, certain cultural establishments are necessary to lure citizens to utilize the frontage. Saturday's Raymond James Art Show at The Pier was a lure; the Salvador Dali Museum and the University of South Florida and our cruise port, all are enticements. St. Petersburg's Historical Museum is already in place. Adding to it only enhances extant cultural utilization.
Our waterfront is public. So, too, are museums. Together they act for the public good.
Peter W. Kersker, St. Petersburg
Creationism not a science
Two recent letters on creationism contained factual and scientific errors. One letter writer says Darwin was not a scientist. History refutes this. He spent five years on the voyage of the Beagle as official naturalist _ collecting, organizing and assimilating data, and then spent many additional years formulating his theory. This is exactly what a scientist does _ observe, propose hypotheses, and then tests them. The writer then suggests that humans could not evolve from earlier forms, yet we find adaptations in many organisms over a short-term basis, not to mention the 4.5-billion years involved in the age of the Earth.
There seems to be misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy (a measure of disorder) can be decreased locally, with the input of energy. The universe as a whole however does experience an increase in disorder since the energy was derived from it.
Both letter writers contend with the word "theory." Scientifically, a theory is the body of fundamental principles underlying a science that are observable and testable or potentially so. The theory of gravitation is only a theory but no one doubts that objects fall. Scientific creationism is not a science _ it is not supported by observation nor does it base its principles on observations.
William M. Keller Ed.D., Professor of Physics
St. Petersburg Junior College
I'd like to applaud the St. Petersburg Times for publishing issues concerning the gay community. It's imperative that the fundamental, homophobic community become informed to the truths about homosexuality.
The most hypocritical statement made yet is that homosexuals recruit children. Who's recruiting whom? I've yet to have a homosexual knock on my door and ask me to join in their beliefs, yet I've had various religious organizations come to my door, desperately forcing their beliefs down my throat. I find them aggressive, narrow-minded and dangerous to the children who are looking for anything to believe in.
I didn't choose to be gay, God chose me to be gay. It's my birthright. Let's remember 10 percent of the population is gay. Statistically this means that 28-million citizens are homosexual. Does God make that big a mistake? I believe Ruth Simpson put it best, "No one should be fearful or guilt-ridden because she loves anybody. Society seems to forget that it is not love but hate that is immoral."
I'm not asking for gay rights. I demand them. I am a natural born citizen of America, born under the Constitution. I demand to have the same basic rights as does any non-gay person. My vote is my power; let's not let that be an issue in 1991.
Catheryn Sarno and Annette Sack, St. Petersburg