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A passionate message, with "little personal conviction'

Re: Passions from the bully pulpit, editorial, Oct. 20.

Ignoring your professed policy of telling the truth to your readers, editorial commentary continues to shoulder the increasingly difficult job of portraying a president as something he is clearly not! The staged address to a group of police chiefs _ all political appointees, most being partisan to this administration _ may be "passion from the pulpit," but assuredly the message is anything but the personal convictions of Clinton.

Switching from his omnibus crime bill text, you note that Clinton turned to a theme with focus on crime itself _ a society in disarray that urgently needs a return to higher standards of morality and the acceptance of responsibility by parents for one or more generations of children left to fend for themselves. With regard to the bully pulpit, you note, (he) "spoke personally about obligation . . . honestly and passionately" about "issues that determine the quality of our lives."

Hold on a minute! That message was a major wake-up theme of the 1992 presidential campaign _ not from Clinton but from then-Vice President Quayle. Clinton ridiculed the morality content and helped orchestrate the media attack that Quayle endured throughout the contest. Surely the Times editors remember well.

The urgent need to awaken society to the benefits of virtues, morality, ethics and behavior that embrace right from wrong is critical. We need to accept and implement the message, but you are pushing the wrong messenger. Clinton may have more than a passing interest in passion, but the gospel he preaches carries little personal conviction _ and we all know it.

James A. Cormack, Dunedin

"Comeback Kid

has done it again'

So, the "Comeback Kid" has done it again!

In the past month he has engineered the bloodless takeover of Haiti's despotic military rulers. And he did it without a single shot being fired! And no body bag count!

Sure beats the hell out of Beirut, Grenada, Panama and even what appeared to be the unfinished job of Desert Storm, doesn't it?

What's more, he accomplished it despite tremendous odds back home. He had no support from a bellicose Congress _ whose members are fearful only of protecting their own political posteriors _ and precious little from the American people. It would have been so much easier had he had the backing of both.

To assume that the emissaries he sent there to effect the capitulation of Haiti's dictatorial junta _ former President Jimmy Carter, retired Army Gen. Colin Powell and Sen. Sam Nunn _ were free to act on their own without the official authority of the president is pure, reckless conjecture.

Haiti's strongman, Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, has resigned and left the country. Many of his top "enforcers" have fled. Too early yet to declare "mission accomplished," but 20,000 American troops, without a single combat fatality, occupy all of Haiti's principal cities to the welcome cheers of the Haitian people. Order prevails. Democratic government will be re-established. Our troops will be coming home soon. Several detachments of Marines are already back.

In the Middle East, Saddam Hussein has been forced to retreat from Kuwait's border. In the Far East, North Korea has agreed to agree on world nuclear policy and to site inspection.

Now that's real foreign policy! America should be proud!

It's about time, too, that Americans wake up to the undeniable fact that they've finally got someone in the White House with some real "moxie."

Gen Aslakson, Citrus Springs

Cough 'em up

Re: Cough up the refunds, by Howard Troxler, on illegal impact fee, Oct. 14.

Right on the money! Thank you, Mr. Troxler, for "getting the truth out."

Yes, Mr. Chiles, on impact fees, why are we having to wait? I can guarantee if monies would be delayed from "we, the people," there definitely would be penalties imposed!

I especially enjoyed the little walk down memory lane: Lawton Chiles, 1990; he called negative campaigning "the politics of the sewer." On Martinez: "He's resorted to a false, negative campaign." It is amazing how the hypocrisy is overflowing now that Mr. Chiles is on the "other side."

Thank you, Mr. Troxler. Keep up the good work!

Bonnie Rocha, Seminole

A 'wonderful day' for reading

Congratulations to the St. Petersburg Times on the success of your second annual Festival of Reading!

This year, it was so well organized that it went off beautifully. And what an impressive list of authors!

One of the most refreshing aspects of the festivities was that the Eckerd College campus seemed to be overflowing with book lovers who brought their children.

You gave us all a wonderful day, and I am most grateful.

Hugh Paulk, Belleair

Congratulations to the Times, its co-sponsors and cadre of dedicated volunteers for presenting another wonderful Times Festival of Reading. Even the weather was perfect!

It proved to be a multicultural and intergenerational celebration of literacy. The ability to read fosters a love of reading; a love of reading empowers both children and adults to travel back in time, around the world, and into the future via books. Reading is essential to learning. Thank you for recognizing it as such.

Susan M. Weatherby, Largo

"Hotels for criminals'

I believe we have all suspected that our prisons were hotels for criminals. With more of everything for those convicts than they could have in their pre-convicted lives, why would they want to escape? They have to commit another crime to get back into the paradise of today's prisons.

Reader's Digest, in the November issue, exposes the unbelievable prison situation that is far better than many who pay the bills for all this. "Lifers" in the Massachusetts prison system and their "guests" enjoy catered prime rib and can practice their tennis game or pursue their education at taxpayer expense.

In Arizona, 70 percent of the lawsuits against the state are filed by prisoners, and it's getting worse. Prisons now cost taxpayers 2{ times what they cost 20 years ago, even allowing for inflation.

Gordon C. McKee, Largo

Citrus Memorial defended

I would like to respond to the recent events that have taken place at Citrus Memorial Hospital.

I have been employed at Citrus Memorial for five years in positions ranging from registration clerk to nursing supervisor at the home health agency. I feel I have had a sufficient amount and variety of experience with many employed here to express a qualified opinion of this hospital. Furthermore, I have lived and worked in places ranging from Rhode Island to Guam, providing me a broad base from which to formulate a non-biased view.

I think we must touch base with the unfortunate reality of our world today and realize that nursing, like any other profession, draws its strengths and weaknesses from the society in which we live. I remember the first time I read about unethical practices by a few doctors, policemen, religious leaders and teachers. I thought, who can we trust other than God on this Earth when some of those we depend on to care for and protect us are as bad as those from whom we seek protection and care?

It is neither realistic nor fair to place blame and a bad name on an entire institution for the careless, inappropriate or irresponsible actions of a few. Citrus Memorial Hospital is "our" hospital and has always strived to provide the highest level of care in various capacities to all members of this community, whether part-time or full-time residents. Our hospital admits and treats everyone, with or without insurance, and does not discriminate in the quality of care as to one's ability to pay.

I think we as a community should support our hospital for all that it is and has been to this community. Let's not be like a feather blowing in the wind, so quick to praise and support the hospital one minute, and then to accuse and condemn it the next for the sad, deplorable behavior of a single person.

Connie Thomas-Hunt, R.N., Citrus Memorial Home

Health Agency, Inverness

Hair gets in the way

All of a sudden, the women in the popular sitcoms (Dave's World, Mad About You, etc.) have short, straight hair that needs to be tucked behind an ear every whipstitch, every few sentences, during every "making-sandwiches-for-the-family" scene. Their fingers are always fooling with this bunch of hair which is not going to stay put unless they Velcro their ears.

Someone should put them wise and give them permanents, or a hairnet, or bobby pins, or a comb _ and let them finger their beads or put their hands in their pockets.

I used to watch how many different changing of outfits that sharp nanny gets in one program; now the messing with the hair is too much to count.

M. H. Liinangi, Clearwater

Telling it "like it is'

Re: Society's problems have no boundaries, Oct. 22.

Elijah Gosier continues to "tell it like it is." It is a real pleasure to read his column, knowing that he is expressing the viewpoints of many of the Times' loyal readers.

Marie E. Codol, St. Petersburg

Christmas already?

Yes, I am going to sound like a broken record but in my day, at age 16 and younger, we were surprised and excited about Christmas.

The stores would wait until much after Thanksgiving to put up their displays and trees; the excitement of the holidays coming was overwhelming. The Christmas trees at home were not decorated until the night before; it was wonderful.

I walked through the stores in the mall and I could not believe my eyes. Before Halloween, the Christmas trees and displays are already up. The fun and excitement for children is being taken away. I really think that greed has taken over today's merchants.

Is there anything we can do to keep Christmas the most wonderful holiday of the year?

Jean M. Gross, Clearwater

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Letters must include the name, address and telephone number of the writer.

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