1. Archive

A closer look at G.W. Bush's profane remark

Re: Bush assault intensifies as Gore closes in,

Sept. 5.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush's profane anger at the New York Times journalist Adam Clymer for "unfair articles" was apparently precipitated by an article about the federal court ruling that Texas is in violation of Medicaid law and its own 1996 consent decree to provide health care for eligible poor children in Texas. An aide was quick to explain that the ruling judge was a liberal activist _ appointed by Lyndon Johnson _ and leading to the obvious conclusion that a conservative judge appointed by a conservative president would not have found the untreated illnesses and suffering of a few thousand poor children worthy of judicial action.

Bush, a champion of personal responsibility, has attacked the judge and a journalist for bringing to public attention a shameful failure in human compassion in Texas government policy that Bush's leadership should have prevented. Please consider what will be the hope of the medically indigent when President George W. Bush replaces judges who have the radical idea that compassion and justice deserve action rather than pious, self-serving rhetoric.

Col. Darrell Jewett (ret.), New Port Richey

Gore, not Bush, avoiding test

Re: Debate limit lets Bush avoid being tested, letter, Sept. 6.

I noticed that a number of your readers wrote in to take George W. Bush to task for challenging Al Gore to a debate on Meet the Press with Tim Russet and on Larry King Live.

Apparently they were unaware that it was Gore who issued the debate challenge while appearing on both of those programs. It appears that Bush has accepted the challenge, and Gore is the one who wishes to "avoid being tested" as the headline of the letter suggests.

John Hungerford, Palm Harbor

We needn't choose a lesser evil

In election after election, exit polls indicate that exasperated citizens believe they cast their vote for the "lesser of two evils."

But in the coming presidential election there is another choice: no evil. His name is Ralph Nader.

Think about it.

R.G. Baumel, St. Petersburg

Third-party coverage unfair

Finally, a politician who is brave enough to address an issue of importance. Ralph Nader may not have a "realistic" chance at gaining the presidency, but at least he has the intestinal fortitude to speak about issues that matter. I suspect this is because he lacks the monetary backing of a predominant business establishment.

Nader's comments about the unlawful federal interference in tribal government and sovereignty are likely to cause him grief among our anti-drug pundits. I'm hopeful that Nader will keep in mind that most of history's good ideas were denounced by a mostly ignorant establishment and keep up the good work.

My real complaint is with the Times itself. Why publish a controversial position by a third party candidate and not the rest of his platform, as is done with the rest of the so-called major party candidates? Why not inform, rather than help to entrench?

Chris Howard, St. Petersburg

God: Republican or Democrat?

The true "silent majority" in our nation consists of good, moral, upstanding citizens who have simply been unable to find a religion or sect with tenets they can conscientiously accept. The popular prejudice against these "unbelievers" is so prevalent that they must pretend piety and devoutness in order to protect their livelihood.

Criminals of all stripes can find redemption in the eye of the public simply by declaring themselves "born again," or "accepting the Lord," but an atheist or agnostic (which is Greek for "I don't know") will never hold a position of public trust if his dark secret, his lack of religious faith, leaks out. It is fortunate that so many nonconformists of other types have come "out of the closet" _ it leaves plenty of room for those who cannot buy the smarmy piety of any organized religion.

With opposing prayers from both sides in athletic events and the Republicans and Democrats firing holy calls for help, the ether is awash with entreaties (hopefully canceling each other out).

A minor quibble: Will some adviser or friend of Gov. George W. Bush please let him know that the letter of the alphabet "A" is pronounced "uh" in speech. His plea for children "who cannot read A simple children's book" loses cogency for those who recognize that usage as evidence that the speaker is reading, instead of talking.

For those of us who are undecided about which way to vote in November, it is comforting to know that we can be reasonably sure of one thing: We'll find out whether God is a Republican or a Democrat. (And won't that make the losing party uncomfortable with their prayers?)

Ralph J. Crawford, St. Petersburg

Americans hardly "most religious'

Re: Lieberman's call to faith just one more stump speech, by Gary Kamiya, Sept. 4.

While in wholehearted agreement with most of Kamiya's column, I believe he stands one argument on its head. "By all measures," he writes, "Americans are the most religious people in the world . . . Yet somehow this orgy of institutionalized faith has not prevented us from killing each other, becoming alcoholics, taking drugs, committing adultery . . . ."

It seems to me that Americans are one of the most irreligious people on Earth by all objective standards: killing and other violence, taking drugs, committing adultery, approving overwhelmingly of state-sponsored murder, subscribing to a take-no-prisoners, freebooting capitalism, unabashed materialism, ill treatment of the unfortunate and child and spouse abuse, while publicly touting holier-than-thou religiosity. In respect to religion, we loudly talk the talk but refuse to walk the walk.

Ed Hirschi, Ocala

Memorial site is inappropriate

At last, a growing movement is demanding we look before we leap irretrievably into a national travesty: the placement of the proposed World War II memorial smack dab in the middle of the National Mall, in the Rainbow Pool, between the Lincoln and Washington memorials.

As the Times reported (Council against WWII memorial, Sept. 7), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has deemed the proposed site inappropriate. The council is correct. Anyone who has ever walked that beautiful, open vista, with its views of the current memorials and other monuments to our nation's greatness, cannot help but feel a sense of awe and reverence and quiet contemplation of our nation's past and its future. Placing the World War II memorial there would destroy that.

It is past time to ask, is this what the proponents of the WWII memorial truly want? It is akin to an honored citizen, as he feels his 12th hour approaching, demanding that even more attention be paid than before. And so he takes an indelible marker and writes his name across a beautiful and shared work of art. That individual will be remembered, certainly, but not as before.

I beg members of the WWII generation, do not besmirch your good names in this manner. Do you not have respect and honors enough, that you must destroy a work of great beauty and historical significance in order that future generations notice you particularly? The WWII generation has been called the "greatest generation." They could also be called the "selfless generation." They selflessly gave many years of their lives to destroy a great evil. When they returned, few would discuss their roles. "We did the job that had to be done," was all they would say.

Yet honors and respect have not been wanting. There is the magnificent Iwo Jima Memorial, which members of my generation (the baby boomers) already assumed honored all contributors to the great national ordeal. Then there is the Tomb of the Unknowns, with its quiet dignity and reverence. However, if more is now deemed necessary, so be it; but do not destroy in order that you be noticed.

Members of the WWII generation, it is time to be selfless again, to again earn the respect with which all citizens hold you. I urge each of you to contact his or her elected representatives in Washington and ask that the WWII memorial be moved to a more appropriate site.

Danny Ball, Tampa

Don't let this act expire

More than 3-million women have been abused since Congress began considering reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 1999. If Congress doesn't act by Sept. 28, the act will expire.

First passed in 1994, VAWA was a turning point in our nation's response to family violence, offering states a comprehensive means of addressing domestic violence and sexual assault. Although the act has contributed to a decline in the rates of domestic violence, there is still much work to be done.

We need to expand VAWA and increase funding to support it. In the last six months, calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline have increased from 8,000 to 13,000 a month. More women and children are seeking the safety of shelters, stretching shelter resources to the limits. Protections for young women, who are at the greatest risk of date violence and sexual assault, are also severely lacking.

With fewer than 30 working days left in this session, Congress must act now!

Bonnie Rosendale, Clearwater

Evolution takes longer

On Sept. 3, the Times published an article from the Scripps Howard News Service titled, Study: Skin color linked to UV light. Two scientists from California, Nina Jablonski and George Chaplin, say they discovered that UV light is connected to the color of our skin.

I don't know where these two scientists have been hiding, but this is old news. Tell them to read these two books: The Answers Book by Ken Ham, Andrew Snelling and Carl Wieland, published in 1990 and One Blood by Ken Ham, Carl Wieland and Don Batten, published in 1999. They attribute the amount melanin in our genetic makeup and our exposure to sunlight as the cause of our skin color. They also show how all people came from the same ancestors and how we came to have different features.

Ham, Wieland, Batten and Snelling are of the creationist persuasion while Jablonski and Chaplin are of the evolutionist persuasion. That would explain why Jablonski and Chaplin are only now just finding this out. Everything takes longer with evolution.

Richard N. Valentine, Palm Harbor

Don't forget Firestone's other fiasco

For some reason, the media, Ford and Firestone have forgotten the fiasco 20 years ago with the Firestone 500 tires, on which the treads also disintegrated and separated from the tire body. Let's get some institutional memory going here and expose the Firestone company for its careless attitude toward the public over the past several decades. I know, because I owned a Mustang II, and all five tires sold with the car had tread separations within a year. Firestone denied any culpability until it was sure most of the tires were off the road.

James D. Hand, Homosassa