Every four years, in the fall, we must decide on new political programing for our living pleasure. Here are reviews of three pilot shows hoping to make prime time, and a returning hit.
Who's the Ross? Grassroots network, starring Ross Perot. The story of a billionaire maid who comes to your "White House" to clean up the mess of the previous tenants. He doesn't like the job and quits after 13 episodes.
Dome Improvement _ LIB network, starring Andre Marrou. The futile efforts of a White House handyman, who uses a chainsaw and sledge hammer to destroy all government buildings. Final episode has Marrou razing the IRS headquarters. A fun fantasy but not enough viewers to be picked up for next season.
Designs on Women _ DEM network, starring Bill Clinton. Story of a philandering president, who, while leaving his wife in charge, has affairs with female KGB agents. If the show doesn't do well in the ratings war, it will move to the Canadian Broadcast System.
The Blunder Years _ REP network, starring George Bush and Dan Quayle _ The lives of a man and his sidekick growing up in Washington, D.C. While making errors along the way, the boys are maturing, and their improvement in the next four years is a certainty. Does not air on cable. Plays well overseas but has been having trouble in the domestic market. This is a quality show that needs to be returned for all our well-being.
Mark Messner, Indian Rocks Beach
Re: A major-league orchestra, editorial, Oct. 10, on the Florida Orchestra.
Hopefully, the proposal to use tourism taxes for a Pinellas County contribution to the orchestra will pass unanimously. It is appalling that our musicians can't receive their full pay.
I applaud them for their benefit for the tornado victims, but how about a benefit for them? And the contributions used only for their salary and not administrators or other costs.
This community cannot afford to lose such a great asset. Let us help them with contributions and attendance.
Shirley Wiest, St. Petersburg
Re: Politics and Joe Redner: Close kin, by Mary Jo Melone, Oct. 1.
Mary Jo Melone outdid herself in her Oct. 1 column. My problem is that she came to the table biased and prejudiced, so she didn't get all the information correct and sometimes she out-and-out lied. But I knew this when I granted her the interview. Whatever you think of me, at least when you talk to me, I'll tell the truth.
Enough of these vague allegations. Let me give some specific examples. She says, "he hasn't given any money." Well, she didn't ask me if I gave any money. She asked if the PAC gave any money. If she weren't so prejudiced and asked the question she said she asked in the column, I would have told her that I personally gave $1,000 to People for the American Way, which is to be used for the Say No To Hate campaign.
She wrote about my television show, but I doubt if she has ever seen it. Has she? She says, "It is natural for somebody like Redner to see his fate tied up with the gay rights ordinance." Doesn't she think I should get upset when I see someone getting kicked in the head?
Her lie is the part of her column that says, "he is just wearing the campaign's little sticker." Mary Jo, I told you in your interview that before the Say No To Hate campaign was started, First Freedom and I picketed in a church where the gay-basher organization, Take Back Tampa, was meeting, as reported in the St. Petersburg Times on Saturday, Aug. 29. Hardly just wearing a little sticker, as you put in your column. Whatever you think of me, Mary Jo, you can know I think less of you.
Joe Redner, President, First Freedom, Tampa
It is that bad
Re: Letter to the editor, Oct. 10, Is it really that bad?
Going to a football game where those who have driven from miles around to congregate is hardly a good barometer to judge the state of our sick economy. There are at present 22-million unemployed in this country. Many of these are college educated. Every day you hear on the news of impending layoffs of up to 20,000 jobs. So it is obvious the education all of us so needed is not the basis of our problem. The problem is a government that only now, in the last few months before the elections, is starting to say things _ superficially, I feel _ to try and please the public. The government's track record speaks for itself about the sad state our country is really in.
We also need people like the letter writer to wake up and smell the coffee. Just because misery and heartache has not fallen on his doorstep, does not mean it is not a harsh reality. It is time for us to come together and vote. And furthermore, after the election, to closely monitor our government to see how our senators and representatives are voting. Are they truly representing us, or special interests and their own financial gain?
Our forefathers would turn over in their graves if they saw how the government is operating now. Of the people, by the people and for the people must replace of the rich, by the powerful and for special interests. Vote.
Brad Davis, Clearwater
Congress to blame?
It is hard, I will admit, to get enthusiastic about four more years of George Bush as president. Taxes have increased, but not nearly so much as the federal deficit. Government regulation is again strangling the economy, and racially divisive legislation, always masquerading as civil rights issues, has been signed into law. While school systems in the largest cities usurp parental moral authority, Vice President Dan Quayle starts a public relations battle he cannot win with a fictional TV character. We fought a war with a power-mad dictator we ourselves armed, and even as we extol the virtues of democracy, we kowtow to the murderous gerontocracy in Beijing.
Indeed, President Bush's leadership has been poor and, like most of my fellow citizens, I find the nation seriously on the "wrong track." But I fear that a Bill Clinton presidency, instead of changing our present course, will merely hasten the downward spiral into economic despair _ accompanied by a weird modern day tribalism of polarized subcultures.
I don't suspect Gov. Clinton of being a liberal in the mold of Sen. Edward Kennedy or former presidential candidate George McGovern. Most Floridians, I suppose, would find Clinton as ideologically palatable as Gov. Lawton Chiles. Yet can a Democratic president realistically be expected to stem the excesses of his more liberal Democratic Congress? As a brake against militant unions, race-based quotas, protectionism, radical and unscientific environmentalism, and punitive taxation, George Bush may slip, but a President Clinton would be no brake at all. (Already in genuflection to the liberal gods of the Democratic Party, Gov. Clinton has suggested that New York Gov. Mario Cuomo should sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.)
Those who earnestly long for change should realize that a Democratic Congress has effectively regained the political initiative in the country following a relatively brief loss of power from 1981 to 1987 _ a period when the Republicans controlled the presidency and the U.S. Senate. Change for the better can only come when Democrats no longer control the government.
Jim Carroll, Clearwater
Re: 102nd Congress' session long on politics, short on legislation, Oct. 8.
I read with interest the status of the major issues left unresolved by the 102nd Congress:
Abortion: "Bush won five veto showdowns with Congress over abortion-related issues."
Health care: "Democrats and Bush put forth conflicting plans Neither received action."
Secondary education: "Republicans in the Senate blocked final action "
Economic recovery: "Bush and Republicans rejected Democrats' proposals to stimulate the economy with middle-income tax cuts that would be financed with higher taxes on the wealthy."
Crime: "Bush and Senate Republicans blocked final action "
Campaign reform: "Bush vetoed it."
Family aid: "Bush vetoed it."
President Bush must find it hard to keep a straight face when he blames the Democrats for congressional gridlock.
Lester R. Dailey, Largo
The press' "delusion'
At the risk of indicating to you and your readers that I don't skip over the editorial pages, I would like to highlight a segment from Martin Dyckman's Oct. 4 column, Muddying the voters' choice.
Dyckman states, "Journalists can be relentless, rowdy and rude, shallow, sychophantic (Webster: fawning) and stupid. They can waste time following rabbit trails .
. Yet they are indispensable to the trial by combat that helps American voters decide which candidates deserve their trust."
Dyckman has expressed a delusion that appears commonly held by the press: a heightened sense of public service when creating news through conflict rather than reporting the news. I don't believe that the American voter is best served by a press corps which has convinced itself that its role is to form a gauntlet where "running for office" means running between an endless double file of reporters (and editors) who are armed with the unbridled power (just short of libel) of the press. It's no wonder that many able candidates choose career paths other than public service.
This voter would prefer that issues be addressed with pertinent facts and that the press would quit scaring off capable candidates, "muddying the voters' choice" with conflict for the sake of selling newspapers. Investigate, report the facts in their appropriate context, and then you may become indispensable.
John DeGelleke, Palm Harbor
Re: Two senators offer a radical, sensible way to cut the deficit, by George F. Will, Oct. 6.
George F. Will refers to the "silliness" of Ross Perot.
The reader can decide for himself, or herself, what is silly about the following listed steps to help bring our federal deficit under control. These steps are described in United We Stand, by Ross Perot. This book is a national bestseller.
Cut discretionary spending; enact the line-item veto; enact a real deficit reduction law; eliminate special favors; cut the defense budget to meet its mission; stop subsidizing the rich; control entitlement costs; increase tobacco and gasoline taxes; increase delinquent IRS collections; get our allies to share the (security) burden.
William J. Burel, St. Petersburg
Ross Perot's presidential quest is the ultimate ego trip for a man with too much money on his hands. Perot has paid no dues by going out and "pressing the flesh" _ as Lyndon Johnson would have said _ nor has he honed his skills by running for any kind of office within a party. Ross Perot is a kook, a rich kook, but a kook nonetheless, and he has about as much business running for president as my cat.
Daniel Peisch, St. Petersburg
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Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL. 33731. They must include the handwritten signature and address of the writer. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.